May 18, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Lay it down Koz! Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Art of the Squeeze


Yesterday’s matchup with the Brew Crew showed a new weapon in the Redbirds offensive arsenal, the Suicide Squeeze. The most revealing part about the tiny play that had a huge impression on the game, was that is didn’t fail.  What shocked Kyle Lohse was also surprising to fans and it illustrates the early success of the 2013 Boys of Busch.  If they made this play look routine, then there could be more to come.

Pete Kozma has been over achieving offensively and more than fulfilling his ZIPS projections through late May, which is fan-fricken-tastic to see.  His defense is Ford tough in addition, as he has only committed a single error (knocking on something that I hope is wood next to the desk).

Back to Sunday…

Kozzie’s poker face when standing in the box yesterday in the fourth frame was perfect, as it usually is.  He looked like an old pitcher, cool as the breeze in August.  When Lohse delivered the pitch, Pete was ready and bent showing what was hidden before, the dragging advance that can slice up and infield if it isn’t expected.  The bunt towards third was too much for the Brewers, and  it looked like Whiteyball in the 82′ Fall Classic.  At least what I imagine it looked like minus the powder blues.

Former good guy Kyle Lohse couldn’t believe the fourth inning had become a small ball exposition.  He attemped to retaliate by throwing high and tight to John Gast, who proceeded to nearly plop down another jab.  Lohse was steaming and cursing at The Secret Weapon while fanatics in red rejoiced with the resurrection of a smaller but in no way less effective form of Cardinals baseball.

What is key to remember is that the Suicide Squeeze is not easy to pull off.  But, when it works like it did yesterday, defenses have another reason to fear the Birds on the Bat.  Another glimpse into that relm of quickness was a stolen base by Allen Craig in the eighth inning.  Although he didn’t score, he did move into scoring position for another potential insurance run.  For a team that is still last in MLB for thefts with a mere 13, every bag counts.

What may be the most encouraging piece of yesterdays puzzle is that the shortened swing, in Pete Kozma’s case, the bunt, is still a hit, and small ball is the solution when the power isn’t successful.  Right now the homers are rare, in fact Birdinals have only cleared the wall 33 times, and that is also in the MLB cellar.  But St. Louis ranks ninth in hits, and as the winning percentage demonstrates, whatever gets it done.

Yes, it isn’t a misprint, Jason Marquis is still pitching!  Tip your cap to him for balling after all of these years.  Go Birds!

 

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