Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Anatomy of an Inning

When does a Suicide Squeeze become Inning Homicide.

Monday night in the 4th inning it did.

It all began innocently enough with a Brandon Wood walk by John Lannan. Ever watch the beginning of a horror movie where some teenagers' car breaks down, they look down the street and see a nice looking house; which prompts them to think, "lets go there for help, everything is going to be ok?"....That was Pirates fans at this point.

In stepped Chris Snyder, everyone's favorite "Crew Cutting-ist Having" catcher, he ripped a line drive to center fielder Roger Bernadina, but that wasn't where the fun ended.

Apparently Brandon Wood thought Johnny Damon was playing CF; he decided to go first to third.....yerrrr outtttttt.

Making the 1st out of an inning at 3rd, that breaks one of those commandments right?

Buccos fans could only hope this was the worst mistake of the inning.

So in "Pirates World" what happens when a base runner gets thrown out at 3rd with no outs, why Ronny "Not from Jersey Shore" Cedeno slaps a double into the gap of course. Snyder advances to third.

And now the fun truly begins.

In steps Paul Maholm, whom the Pirates have provided exactly 2.24 runs per outing in run support. Don't act like you weren't picturing some Sportscenter highlight of Maholm singling, where a witty anchor makes a joke about the lack of run support for Paul and says, "So Maholm decided to get it done himself."

The immediate thought after that was, "There is no way we will try the squeeze here right?"

It should be noted Maholm struck out earlier in the game attempting to bunt. It also should be noted that Chris Snyder (0 career SBs), who isn't exactly a burner, was standing on third.

Either of these facts would make anyone hesitant to drop a squeeze........not Clint Hurdle though.

Then the MASN Washington announcers start openly laughing at the idea of a squeeze, which again makes you think, "there is no way they actually do this."

Don’t get me wrong I am not a Pirates fan who thinks every bunt attempt is "evil," especially with a team that has the propensity to ground into double plays. The Pirates are now 4th in baseball with 41 GIDP.

However, here the DP isn’t in play, so avoiding it isn't an issue. At worst Maholm strikes out and your most dangerous hitter, McCutchen, comes up with two outs. Who knows maybe Maholm closes his eyes and swings---blooping a single or hitting a ball deep enough, that even Snyder can tag. Maybe he even, gasp, walks.

All these situations that seem better than a squeeze play run through a Bucs fan's mind faster than a Usain Bolt 100 meter dash.

And then..........Maholm squares around.....and whiffs...now Chris Snyder, who I remind you has 0 career SBs, is caught high and dry between 3rd and home....yerrrrr outtttttt.

Maholm strikes out and the inning is over. One more time.

Basically John Lannan, in an inning where he was hit hard, got out of the 4th by striking out the pitcher. The Pirates created an out at 3rd and one between 3rd and Home---if there was a Sabremetric for ineptitude, this inning would be the gold standard.

John Lannan is laughing at you.

The 4th inning was essentially the defibrillation paddles for a losing streak that just won't die.

Rumor has it Root Sports played "sad violin music" in the background during this atrocity of an inning on Pirates Replay.........

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