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SH with a 3-0 Count

Posted by Raphy on February 20, 2011

This past September 11th, Francisco Cervelli came to the plate in the top of the ninth with his team leading by 1 and a runner on second.  Despite working the count to 3-0, Cervelli  bunted the next pitch , successfully moving the runner to 3rd.  In doing so, he became the 6th player since 2000 to record a SH on a 3-0 pitch.  Here are the others:

# Gm# Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score StSc InnSc BOP Pos Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI WPA RE24 LI Play Description
1 1 2000-08-04 Luis Alicea TEX @TOR Steve Trachsel ahead 1-3 2 3 1 4 Out t5 12- 0 4 (3-0) 0 -0.00 -0.12 1.34 Bunt Groundout: P-2B/Sacrifice; Lamb to 3B; Clayton to 2B
2 1 2002-06-18 Jerry Hairston BAL @ARI Brian Anderson tied 0-0 0 1 2 4 Out t1 -2- 0 4 (3-0) 0 -0.02 -0.20 1.17 Bunt Groundout: P-1B/Sacrifice; Mora to 3B
3 1 2004-04-09 Josh Fogg PIT @CIN Aaron Harang down 5-1 -4 -4 9 1 Out t5 1-- 0 4 (3-0) 0 -0.02 -0.21 1.20 Bunt Groundout: C-2B/Sacrifice; Wilson to 2B
4 1 2004-07-19 Rey Sanchez TBD NYY Felix Heredia ahead 5-6 1 3 9 4 Out b6 12- 0 4 (3-0) 0 0.00 -0.10 1.51 Bunt Groundout: 3B-2B/Sacrifice; Hall to 3B; Blum to 2B
5 1 2008-05-21 Omar Quintanilla COL SFG Alex Hinshaw ahead 0-2 2 2 8 4 Out b8 1-- 0 4 (3-0) 0 -0.00 -0.23 .40 Bunt Groundout: 3B-2B/Sacrifice (Front of Home); Iannetta to 2B
6 1 2010-09-11 Francisco Cervelli NYY @TEX Alexi Ogando ahead 5-6 1 1 9 2 Out t9 -2- 0 4 (3-0) 0 -0.00 -0.21 .84 Bunt Groundout: 3B-2B (Weak 3B); Nunez to 3B
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2011.

13 Responses to “SH with a 3-0 Count”

  1. larry seltzer Says:

    Wow, only one of those is a pitcher! Some guys really do follow the book robotically

  2. Juan sin Miedo Says:

    What a great example where small ball and strategy has been traded in by big bombs and stats. Specifically the sacrafice bunt. I am thinking if you did this search by decade you would see longer lists starting in the 80's, then 70's, 60's, etc. You get the idea.

  3. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    I agree with Juan Sin Miedo -- to the point that , probably until the Thirties, the figures would dwarf these numbers.

  4. Xander Says:

    I watched that game.
    What is absolutely maddening about it is that Cervelii, who is not a great hitter, had reached base safely EIGHT CONSECUTIVE TIMES before that PA. Six walks and two singles. And he is instructed to make an out, on a 3-0 count.

    Oh, and the Yanx dont score.
    Oh, and Mariano blows the save, giving up the winning run on a hit by pitch.

    I think the terrorists won on this past 9.11

  5. John H. Says:

    Wow, that Cervelli bunt was incredibly stupid. But I saw something once at a college softball game that was worse. The score was tied in the 7th inning with the home team batting. The bases were loaded, no outs, and the batter had a 3-0 count. The batter was given the squeeze bunt sign and she popped it up into a double play! A walk would have driven in a run and put them ahead!

  6. Joe Garrison Says:

    And we have yet another sign that we are all getting a little anxious for the new season to start!

  7. John Autin Says:

    I think bunting there was bad strategy -- not because of the 3-0 count, but because of the game situation.

    In the 9th inning, a 1-run strategy might be appropriate if you are either tied or down by 1 run. Playing for 1 run when you're ahead is poor percentage ball.

    I'm speculating, but I have a feeling that Girardi's decision was colored by the fact that Mariano had pitched 2 full innings the day before, in a 13-inning loss. My guess is that with Girardi was trying to keep Mariano out of this game, and would have felt comfortable giving the 9th-inning save chance to someone else if he could bump the lead from 1 to 2 runs.

  8. John Autin Says:

    @2 / @4 -- I, too, would have guessed that a 3-0 sac bunt was at least somewhat more common in, say, the '80s.

    But I just did a search with the Event Finder for 1980-89. Now, pitch-count data are spotty, even for such relatively recent years. Of the 15,646 sac bunts in that decade, the count is known for only 3,178 of them.

    But of those 3,178 for which the count is known, not a single one occurred on a 3-0 count.

    P.S. On a tangent, I was surprised to find that sac bunts in the '80s were almost twice as frequent when the team was ahead as when they were behind. And there were also more sac bunts when the team was ahead than when they were tied.

  9. John Autin Says:

    Just following through ... The '90s also had 6 sac bunts known to have come on a 3-0 count. The count is known for the vast majority of the sac bunts of the '90s.

  10. John Autin Says:

    One more thing -- is anyone else here surprised that only 1 of the 6 players listed above is a pitcher?

  11. ken Says:

    Pitchers rarely work the count to 3-0! 😉

  12. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @10, @1 - The first thing I did was to look to see how many of these games took part in NL ball parks, since I figured that some of these guys would be pitchers. I found three. One name, Jerry Hairston (the only one in an interleague game), was familiar to me as a non-pitcher. I then looked up Josh Fogg and Omar Quintanilla to see if either one was/is a pitcher. It turns out that Fogg was. So, yes, I was suprised to find that only one was/is a pitcher.

  13. Tmckelv Says:

    I was also surprised at only one guy being a pitcher.

    But I was more surprised that in 4 of the instances the situation was a man on 1st only or men on 1st and 2nd (since a walk would have given the desired effect with another base runner plus no additional outs). Obviously the only job these guys (via manager's direction) was to advance the runner and they used the assumption is that the 3-0 pitch would be the best pitch they would see (to bunt). A "bunting sneak attack", as it were.

    There have been discussions on this board about whether a sac bunt is EVER a good play (I remember it being discussed after Aubry Huff's sac bunt in the last game of the WS, which I thought was the best bunt I had ever seen given the circumstances and it was pointed out to me that the WPA was still negative), so characterizing any of these individual bunts as "a good play" is very unlikely.