Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Now that's a shift

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon decided to go with something different last night. He decided that shifting whenever David Ortiz was up wasn't good enough. So, he placed 5 players into the outfield in an effort to stop Big Papi's offensive prowess.

Unfortunately for him, this new 5 man shift didn't shut down Ortiz: "...they can’t catch the ball if you hit it off the Green Monster." Ortiz bounced one off the wall in the third inning, but grounded out to short in the first. The 'traditional' overshift was in place for when runners were on base otherwise.

The full 5 man shift looks like this. Leaving your shortstop and first baseman in the infield, send your second baseman too shallow right field and your third baseman into the left field. Push your left fielder into left-center and push your center fielder a little bit to the right. That leaves your right fielder down near the line.

According to Maddon: "He’s on the level with a Barry Bonds with his hitting ability. He’s so hard to pitch to, and there really are no holes. He covers everything. We play them 19 times. We have to try something."

Francona's response: "I had never seen something quite that pronounced. That one ball he hit off the wall, it looked like there were eight guys chasing it. There were guys all over the place."

Source: Boston Herald.

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