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November 15, 2013

Painting the Black

Suicide is Painless

by R.J. Anderson


"The squeeze play is the most dangerous play in baseball." - Earl Weaver, from Weaver on Strategy

"I don't believe it! They've lost their minds down there! They're trying to kill me. They're doing it on purpose." Don the Tigers fan reacting to a failed squeeze play, from Five Seasons

The squeeze play is perhaps baseball's most exciting display of managerial greed, complete with an unparalleled do-or-dumb element. Good execution can guarantee a run just as sure as incompetence can botch an otherwise rosy situation. It's a play that lends itself to criticism and second guessing. Yet, despite those stakes, one manager has embraced the squeeze as a primary weapon in recent years.

Ron Roenicke got his creativity honestly, having served on Mike Scioscia's Angels staff alongside fellow managers Joe Maddon and Bud Black. He took over the Brewers in November 2010, and has since employed an aggressive approach by embracing squeeze plays. The Brewers have averaged 15 bunt attempts with a baserunner on third since 2011, including 21 tries in 2012—the third most by a team since 1980, trailing only the 1989 Cubs and 1986 Giants. Predictably, the Brew Crew lead the league in the category during Roenicke's reign:

Most Bunt Attempts with Runner on Third, 2011-2013

Team

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Related Content:  Milwaukee Brewers

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