Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Last night Mike Scioscia decided that it was his time to pull the genius move that it was his time to make the difference and that 1 run would get it done. So he called the suicide squeeze with his speediest runner at third and his biggest sacrificing lamb at the plate, and it completely backfired. Willits was tagged out and the momentum swung from the Angels dugout directly into Jason Bay's at bat and the rest is history.
If you look just at the players involved in the situation it looks like the right call. If Aybar, not a very good hitter and arguably your best bunter, gets the ball down you then get to turn a 1 run lead over to a record breaking closer. The strategy at the top level looks solid. But dig a bit deeper and there are some holes to find. Obviously on a suicide squeeze its essential to get a ball that can be bunted. Aybar had a 2-0 count against Delcarmen, so it would appear as if Delcarmen needed to bring a strike. The problem was that Delcarmen almost drilled Aybar on two previous pitches and with 1 out in a tie ball game throwing a strike on the next pitch was not due or die. In addition the faster the pitch the more difficult it is to bunt and Delcarmen is certainly a hard thrower. So combine these aspects and what you end up with is expected, a 95+ heater off the plate inside, a difficult pitch to handle for any bunter.
If it had worked everyone would have applauded the genius of Scioscia, but he picked a bad spot for the squeeze and because he did, his team now has a tee time for Wednesday afternoon.