Big League Stew

  • Dodgers put four defenders on right side of infield — and it works

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew12 hrs ago

    Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly took the term "defensive shift" to a new level on Friday night, successfully debuting an alignment we can honestly never recall seeing before.

    With the game tied in the 12th inning, San Diego loaded the bases against Dodgers reliever Kevin Correia with one out, setting the stage for left-handed swinging Seth Smith to be the hero. Because Smith tends to pull the ball , the Dodgers usually put on a standard shift with an extra infielder taking up shop in short right field during his plate appearances. In this case, though, Mattingly decided to tighten things up even more with the winning run 90 feet from home plate.

    Center fielder Andre Ethier was called in to the infield, which again is not all that unusual. Five man infields are used frequently in game-ending situations such as this one, because even a medium fly ball stands a good chance to score the winning run. It's a percentage play, with the extra infielder giving the defense a better chance to prevent the run.

    What was unusual here is how the extra infielder was used and how the defense was ultimately aligned.

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