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The Dodgers took the shift to the extreme last night

Aug 30, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

dodgers shift

The Dodgers took the shift to the extreme in the 12th inning last night against the Padres, using four players (including outfielder Andre Ethier) on the right side of the infield in a bases-loaded situation with Seth Smith at the plate. It almost looked like the way defenders line up for a free kick in soccer. And wouldn’t you know it, it worked. Smith hit a grounder to Dee Gordon, who was able to get the force out at home plate. In fact, they almost turned a double play.

Check it out below:

While the shift was successful against Smith, Yasmani Grandal followed with a walk-off RBI single to give the Padres a 3-2 win. Ah well. Here’s Tim Wallach’s explanation on the Dodgers’ strategy for the unique shift:

Can’t argue with that.

  1. thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    #Baseballisdying

    • SocraticGadfly - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      #TheBuntSingleIsDead

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        Ya because people want to pay $100 a game per person to see shifts and bunt singles.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 30, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        What stadium do you go to where tickets are $100????

      • buckyball88 - Aug 30, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        At Orioles Park at Camden Yards you can actually front row tickets behind the dugout for less than $50, at least with season tickets. It is still less than $60 for single game tickets. Say what you want about Peter Angelos. Everyone does. Including me, many, many times. But he has kept ticket prices reasonable.

      • genericcommenter - Aug 30, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        Wow, the last game I went to at Camden Yards before I moved out of MD was in 2004. I paid $75 per ticket for that game.

      • American of African Descent - Aug 30, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        People want to see their team win. If they win with bunt singles and shifts, so be it.

      • simon94022 - Aug 30, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        The safety squeeze is one of the most exciting plays in sports, and when the home team does it successfully crowds erupt.

  2. Ren - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Definitely the first time for me seein this kind of shift in the infield.

  3. jfk69 - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Brian McCann is going to love this shift.

  4. pbannard - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Best part was Vin Scully describing it as a “chorus line.”

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      And when Vinny says he’s never seen something in baseball, we can safely assume that it has never happened.

  5. phillysports1 - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Chris Davis doesn’t need this shift anymore. He ran out of PEDS.

    • realgone2 - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      Philly fan….shocker

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        the shock is going from .286 last season to .189 so far this season.

        It’s a shock to go from an OPS+ of 168 all the way to below average at 94

        It’s a shock to have one’s slugging drop from .634 to .400

        The man did NOT forget how to play the game. So, is he injured? maybe, it would be a good explanation. maybe we’ll hear about some ailment in the off season that slowed him down.

        SOMETHING happened for such a DRASTIC reversal of fortune.

        No, I didn’t expect another OPS+ of 168. was probably a career year…

        Of course his OPS+ was 85 in 2009

        his OPS+ was 51 in 2010

        his OPS+ was 89 in 2011

        after three consecutive seasons of being well BELOW league average… maybe he thought, well ya know, I could use some assistance.
        hey, in 2012, his OPS+ SHOT up from 89 to 121

        I guess he “liked” his improvement and if some if good, more is better right?

        hey, he rocketed up from an OPS+ of 121 to 168

        uh, he’s back below an OPS+ of 100

        he is NOT old. he’s 28 yrs old. 27, 28 yrs old is a players PRIME.

        so, after performing GREAT in his age 26 and 27 seasons, he falls off a cliff in his age 28 season.

        All I know, is that there is SOMETHING at work here. NO, it does not have to be PEDS.

        But it is something. Very few players experience a drop of that much from one season to the next, especially when they are still in their prime…

      • moogro - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        sportsfan: Your CAPS style of writing is not HELPFUL.

    • realgone2 - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      This is just stupid.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Is it? Davis had one breakout year then fell back to earth.

  6. apeville - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Baseball is not dying, it’s evolving.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      Into soccer

      • jm91rs - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        You mean the most popular sport in the world?

      • thatsnuckinfuts - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        Most popular sport in the world? Wow-wee! That’s impressive!

        Too bad were talking about the North American market, where soccer barely has a piece of the sporting entertainment pie….

      • bonnovi - Aug 30, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        That would be a pretty crazy evolution. And yet, at the same time, I think it would be pretty awesome to see how that would happen.

  7. nolasoxfan2012 - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    What’s dying in baseball is the fundamentals of the game. That is an absolutely awful piece of hitting by Smith. If you’re Barry Bonds or David Ortiz, etc., you ignore the shift. If you’re a journeyman OF, you ought to be able to hit the ball somewhere other than the area between 1st and 2nd if the situation calls for it.

    • rvnc - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      Completely agree. Surely in that situation you adjust your approach, but no, he tries to pull the ball. Moronic.

    • gloccamorra - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      You’re right about Smith’s hitting. That pitch was far enough over the plate and high enough to pop it over the infield up the middle, or punch it to left. Instead, he pulled it – he actually had to work to hit it to the right side. He must have had “twelfth inning jitters”.

    • moogro - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      He saw JT playing the left side and thought, “No way. I’ll take my chances on the right”

  8. phillysports1 - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    ?

    • yankeefan1950 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:51 AM

      The intelligence of your posts is truly astounding.

  9. pwshrugged - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    All I see there is a goofy shift that made it improbable to turn an easy double-play at 2nd and 1st, which I guess is why the throw was home instead of to 2nd?

  10. clydeserra - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    now, if the out is recorded at first, is it a 4-2-9 DP?

    • Bryz - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      I’d assume so since Ethier was the RF but received the throw at 1st base.

  11. norcaldeportes - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Did it really work though? That’s a tailor-made double play if they were playing normal, and it would have been the end of the inning. Instead, the next guy up hit a walk off single. So again I ask, did it really work?

    • jya87 - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      it should have worked, if Dee Gordon wasn’t having such a brutal game. throws away an easy DP ball early in the game to give the Friars their first run, and then bounces the throw home to keep the Dodgers from turning an inning-ending double play. on top of that, he went 0-6, which included a bases-loaded AB during which he grounded out weakly on a ball he had no business swinging at.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      Well, the immediate goal was to keep that batter from ending the game. In that sense, it worked.

    • moogro - Aug 30, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Heck yea, it worked. What was frustrating is that they took it off. Sure enough, the very next batter hit the exact same ball, and if they would have at least had three there, the inning was over. But…Correia was going to come out again the next inning, so there was a sense of doom anyway. He had nothing.

  12. baberuthslegs - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Why do players not try to go the other way? Please, this is a serious question. I really don’t get it.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      I’m guessing comfort zones.

      • baberuthslegs - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Thanks driving123

  13. m1st3rjaxsp8z - Aug 30, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Lame!! just like the Dodgers!!

  14. insley29 - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Watch the video, when they shift on these guys they work them inside. It’s just not that simple to take a ball that’s on the inside of the plate and hit it the other way. It’s not talent, it’s not lack of trying it’s physics. Also they leave the third baseman at home to guard against the bunt.

    • baberuthslegs - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      The inside pitch thing makes sense. Thanks.

  15. thomas844 - Aug 30, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    If I’m a manager, I’m training my left-handed hitters to bunt down the third base line no matter who it is. I’ve seen the likes of Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Cano, and Anthony Rizzo drop down bunt hits to beat the shift (in Cano’s case, he even got a double!) This is a very simple but rarely used way of beating the shift.

    • moogro - Aug 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Those guys are all great about being able to change their whole form based on situations to get something done. Some people have it, some just can’t.

    • natstowngreg - Aug 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Good if you pick your spots. The tradeoff is, you limit the damage you can do at bat. Hard to hit for power if you’re bunting.

      If I were the opposing manager, I’d keep the shift on. Concede the bunt single, if possible (ex., bases empty). Dare the power hitter to lay down a bunt. Take away the power hitter’s power. Of course, if the winning run is on 3rd, you can’t do that.

  16. kc114 - Aug 30, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Did anyone notice that Mattingly went onto the field to give instructions immediately after Smith’s AB? He had already visited the mound prior to the AB. Would this be considered a second visit and the pitcher has to be removed from the game?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 30, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      KC, reasonable question. I don’t think he went all the way to the mound on the 2nd visit, though I’m not sure of the exact rule here. A few years back, I saw a manager visit the mound, head back to the dugout, taking perhaps two steps away from the mound, and suddenly think of something else he needed to tell the pitcher. He turned and stepped back onto the mound, whereupon the ump informed him he’d have to change pitchers. It was pretty funny, though I don’t recall the manager demonstrating any appreciation of the humor of the moment.

      • yankeefan1950 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:50 AM

        That manager was Mattingly.

      • gloccamorra - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Mattingly. A visit to the mound involves actually stepping on the dirt mound. Mattingly caught himself there, and I’ve seen Joe Torre catch himself too, realizing there had already been a mound visit in the inning.

        You can step into fair territory and retreat without saying anything and the umpires will let it go. Mattingly said something to somebody, but the umps cut him some slack. Bud Black didn’t object, because the Padres have hit Correia pretty well, with 14 doubles and 6 homers in 25 games.

  17. Carl Hancock - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    The infield shift just jumped the shark.

    • gloccamorra - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Not yet. When the outfielders do it too, THEN it’ll be a jump the shark moment (and any hitter who doesn’t go the other way should be sent down/released/peed on in the shower by his teammates).

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