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Great Moments in Defensive Shifts: Washington Nationals Edition

Mar 4, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT

LAKE BUENA VISTA — This morning I reported that Nationals manager Matt Williams sounded receptive to defensive shifts. I wonder if I put an idea in his head, because he made a doozy of one today.  This was what the Nats’ infield looked like in the eighth inning today with the game tied, one out and the bases loaded:

source:

For those scoring at home, that’s the right fielder playing second base, more or less, with three infielders on the left side against Braves’ infielder Philip Gosselin (there is a left fielder, he just got cropped out of my pic). Very bold!

Only problem: Gosselin tripled over the center fielder’s head, clearing the bases. But still, bold.

  1. David Proctor - Mar 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    You’re only going to do this in a situation in the 9th or extras where a flyball/sac fly ends the game. But we’re unlikely to get that scenario in the Spring, so might as well try it out.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 4, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    This is a do-or-die, late game shift for when one run is a good as 4. In ST the regulars are only in for a few innings. Gotta try it out sometime.

    Maybe the hitter will be so confused he will forget how to poke one out over the SS heads.

  3. natstowngreg - Mar 4, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    I saw Gene Mauch do this with the Angels, Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, circa 1987. Michael Young ripped the walk-off hit for the Orioles, through the tiny gap between the first baseman and the first base line.

  4. scatterbrian - Mar 4, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Drop a bunt between 1B and 2B and make the right fielder prove he knows what to do in that situation.

    • happytwinsfan - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      you would think that the way they’re selling out everyone in the infield is set to come home with their throw, but yeah, make the right fielder prove that he can bare hand a grounder.

  5. brentsalish - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Keep in mind @scatterbrian and @happytwinsfan, that the worst fielder in baseball probably played shortstop on his championship Little League team or equivalent — when he didn’t pitch :-) . Will he be as smooth as, say, Brendan Ryan? Of course not. But he’ll make the play more than 2/3 of the time, which drops the batter back to a .300-ish BA.

    • dluxxx - Mar 4, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      If he even lays the bunt down correctly.

    • jwbiii - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      (Pictures a twelve year old Adam Dunn playing short)

    • scatterbrian - Mar 5, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Those same dudes also haven’t played shortstop since Little League.

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