Culver City Observer -

Shifty Dodgers Win A Big One

Baseball’s Controversial Shift Causes Cubs A Defeat


September 1, 2016

For many, many years major league teams stationed defenders at first base, second base, shortstop and third base.

Then the shift came along. Analytics began proving information on where batters frequently hit the ball. Teams responded by adding an extra fielder to the most likely spot. And, of course, reduced manpower at the least likely spot.

So, on Sunday the Dodgers and Cubs were scoreless in the bottom of the eighth. There were two outs, the bases were loaded and the batter was Adrian Gonzalez, a notorious pull hitter.

As expected, the Cubs loaded up the right side.

In recent games that I’ve attended I noticed in certain situations Gonzalez was attempting to hit singles to left field. Not only is he a superb hitter he’s a smart guy.

On this occasion Gonzalez tried to do that but could only hit a weak grounder to third baseman Javier Baez. A routine toss to first base would have kept the game scoreless.

But Baez chose the shorter throw to second base for the force play that would have resulted in the third out.

But the Cubs were in their shift and second baseman Ben Zobrist was a long way from second base because he’d been stationed halfway to first.

The runner, Cory Seager, reached second ahead of the fielder. The Cubs protested the call but I saw clearly they weren’t going to get the call reversed. And they didn’t.

The Dodgers won the game, 1-0 and took two out of three in the series.

“I didn’t expect to be late to second but we didn’t communicate,” said Zobrist.

“We made a mental mistake and it cost us,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

The Dodgers concluded a homestand in first place, leaving the San Francisco Giants struggling to catch them.

Yankees manager Joe Giradi has lobbied for baseball to outlaw the shift and restore defenses to their longtime positions.

Rob Manfred may look into the request in the off season. He talked against the shift when he became commissioner in 2015 but he’s been quiet on the subject lately.

“As long as its legal we’re going to do it but I think baseball fields were built to have two infielders on one side and two others on the other side,” said Giradi.

The game was an example of the Dodgers winning games against odds. In this one 14-game winner Jon Lister was pitching for the Cubs against a Dodgers pitcher, BrockStewart, who had no wins.

But Stewart and Dodger relievers kept the Cubs scoreless.

Give an assist to the shift.


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