Baseball Magazine

The Suicide Squeeze - Part 4: The Mechanics

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

The suicide squeeze - Part 4: The mechanics

Squaring your feet up to the pitcher is
an option for a normal sacrifice bunt ...

Although the squeeze play is hard to defend against once it has been properly put into motion, the batter still has to get the bunt down and the runner still has to travel 90 feet to score.  Easier said than done.  Except for the timing of when to square to bunt as explained in Part 3, basic rules for how to properly sacrifice bunt apply to the suicide squeeze.  Instead of listing all the basic fundamentals of sacrifice bunting here, I'll refer you to a couple previous posts that covered some of those details.  They are as follows:

There are, however, a few bunting and base running tips that apply specifically to the success of the squeeze play.  This part of the series is dedicated to those.
Tips for the batter.

Pivot, don't square.  In the two previous posts linked above, I offered a couple of options when squaring to bunt.  On a normal sacrifice bunt, some coaches want their players to completely square around so that their entire body - including their feet - is square to the pitcher.  Others would rather have their hitters just pivot.  Both options have merit.  However, during a squeeze bunt, the batter should pivot as opposed to squaring all the way around.  As you read in Part 3, timing is very important on a squeeze play.  Pivoting instead of squaring around takes less time and keeps the element of surprise intact a bit longer.

The suicide squeeze - Part 4: The mechanics

... but pivoting your hips while keeping your feet
still is better for a squeeze play.

Keep it away from the pitcher and catcher.  If the timing is right, the only players that realistically have a chance to field a squeeze bunt and make a play at home plate are the pitcher and the catcher.  That's why a batter should do everything to NOT bunt it hard right back to the pitcher or too soft so that the catcher fields it right in front of the plate.  If the batter bunts it away from home plate and makes the pitcher go left or right, it works virtually every time.
Bunt it where it's pitched.  There is no rule as to which side of the field the ball should be bunted towards.  Basic rules of hitting apply.  If the pitch is on the outer half, bunt it to the opposite side of the field.  If the ball is on the inner half, bunt it to the pull side of the field.  If the pitch is a poor one (very high, very low, etc.)  the batter should just do the best he can to bunt the ball in play.  
Look away and adjust inside.  This phrase is a popular one for hitters with two strikes.  That's because it keeps their weight back and gives them better plate coverage.  The same thing applies to the suicide squeeze.  It is always easier to prepare for a pitch on the outer half and then adjust to an inside one than it is to look inside and have to adjust to an outside pitch.
Tips for the runner.
Take your normal lead.  Nothing changes on a squeeze play in terms of a runner's lead.  Anything other than a normal lead off third base and the other team might suspect something.

The suicide squeeze - Part 4: The mechanics

If your normal lead off third looks like this,
you do the same thing on a squeeze play.

Use a walking lead.  This tip only applies to a pitcher in the wind-up or if a pitcher in the stretch has a big leg kick.  A pitcher in the wind-up will take a second or two to get to the spot in his delivery where he separates his hands.  In this situation, the runner should start walking down the line when the pitcher starts his wind-up and then turn it into a sprint when the pitcher separates his hands.  This normal, walking lead forces the runner to not leave too early and also cuts the distance of his run home when he starts to sprint.  For the same reasons, the runner should do this when a pitcher has a big leg kick from the stretch.  The runner just won't be able to get as far down the line before turning on the speed.  A pitcher who slide steps with a runner on third poses more of a challenge for the runner.  In this case it may be necessary for the runner to take a slightly larger lead off third to start in order to compensate for not being able to take a walking lead on the pitcher's delivery.
Part 1:  The why's and when's of the suicide squeeze.Part 2:  Giving and receiving the squeeze sign.Part 3:  Timing for the batter and the runner.Part 4:  The mechanics.Part 5:  Defending the squeeze play

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