SUICIDE SQUEEZE AND SAFETY SQUEEZE PLAYS

by David Ross
(Palo Alto CA)

Suicide and safety squeezes are almost identical plays, differing only in the point at which the runner leaves third base. In both cases the batter must bunt successfully. My question is given the choice of the two at a given moment in a game, what factors are addressed in making the choice?

Thanks for any response.

OUR COACH’S ANSWER

Thanks for the question!

Well, the suicide squeeze and safety squeeze plays are two different plays in baseball.

What is a Suicide Squeeze?

During a suicide squeeze, the runner at 3rd base takes off about the same time the pitcher is releasing the baseball. The batter MUST get the bunt down (or at least make contact)! If he doesn’t make contact, the runner will easily be tagged out by the catcher. If he gets the bunt down on the infield grass, there is virtually no way the defense can get the runner out at the plate. It is called a suicide squeeze because you are betting the run at 3rd that the hitter will get the bunt down.

What is a Safety Squeeze?

During a safety squeeze, the runner at third base does not break for home plate until the bunt is down. If the bunt does not get put down, the runner is still safe at 3rd base, hence the name safety squeeze.

For any squeeze situation, there must be less than two outs, otherwise, the defense could easily field the bunt and throw the runner out at first base with the run not scoring. Typically, you will only use the squeeze when the game is close and the runner at 3rd base is the tying run, go-ahead run or possibly an insurance run.

I would use a safety squeeze if the batter isn’t a great bunter. That way, if he doesn’t get the bunt down, you still have the runner in scoring position. The suicide squeeze is if you are confident the batter will get the bunt down on any pitch.

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