Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dodgers Use Wall of Infielders

This is a new one.

Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:25 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: crazy-ass defensive shifts, defensive shifts, dodgers, padres, seth smith

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4782370)
Hey, weird or not, it worked.
   2. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4782372)
Wow. That was crazy looking. Good for them.
   3. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4782374)
I hope they were holding their gloves over their ####.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4782381)
Oh my god. This is awesome.
   5. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4782390)
Great visual, but I liked how they almost biffed the throw toward home.
   6. Dale Sams Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4782391)
The problem with that is they're standing in each others zones. A well hit ball is going to result on two guys colliding. They should have had 3 guys move back a couple of steps.
   7. Brian White Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4782402)
That's fantastic. I love those five man infield defenses.
   8. Traderdave Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4782404)
I can vaguely recall a game at Wrigley in the early 80's on Saturday GOTW. Chuck Tanner's Pirates were the opposing team. Bottom of 9th (or possibly in extras), Cubs has bases loaded and the wind was blowing out.

Tanner called in the outfielders so shallow they were damn near on the infield dirt and the infielders were drawn in as if to defend against a bunt. Scully gave his usual smooth delivery while noting "7 infielders."

Anyone know that game?
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4782410)
We've run a five man infield about half a dozen times the last few years with our little league team. It has never worked but one of the fun side effects is the kids have not been bothered about losing because they enjoyed the set up.
   10. DKDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4782427)
The problem with that is they're standing in each others zones. A well hit ball is going to result on two guys colliding. They should have had 3 guys move back a couple of steps.


Maybe a step or two, but it's do or die, if you are too far back to make the throw home, you might as well be in the outfield to catch a fly ball.

I love this, and I hope we see more and more of it.
   11. Dan Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4782429)
Too bad they didn't keep the right side loaded up against the next hitter, who hit a ground ball single in the hole to walk off the Padres with the win.

I do love seeing managers employ the 5 man infield in these extra inning walk off situations with 0 or 1 out. And this was a fun and intelligent variation on that setup. It's a bit weird when the Dodgers do it because they typically end up with Ethier at first base and Gonzalez at "1.5B" as a lefty thrower. It shouldn't really matter since any throw is going to go home, but it is a bit odd aesthetically.
   12. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4782461)
I love seeing shifts and nontraditional defenses.
   13. TJ Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4782464)
The score was tied in the bottom of the 12th when the Dodgers did this. I would love to ask Seth Smith why the hell he tried to pull a sinker down and away with the game on the line and defensive holes all over the place?
   14. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4782470)
Maybe a step or two, but it's do or die, if you are too far back to make the throw home


You don't need to throw home though since it's already 1 out. Throwing to second gets a double play nearly every time.
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4782477)
You don't need to throw home though since it's already 1 out. Throwing to second gets a double play nearly every time.


That's not a guarantee, given the alignment. You're throwing from the right side of the infield to a player from the right side of the infield heading away from you to the bag. It's certainly not a nearly every time situation.

And like TJ, my biggest question is over Smith's approach in that situation.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4782484)
Well, maybe he just failed to execute.
   17. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 30, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4782491)

Well, maybe he just failed to execute.



Certainly possible, though it doesn't look like he was trying to do anything other than just pull the ball hard through the right side.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4782497)
Maybe the Dodgers knew that Smith was stubborn and proud.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: August 30, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4782505)
I found this terrific photo of an unusual cricket formation in the Reddit thread discussing this same play:

http://st1.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/cricket/image_20130328080826.jpg
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 30, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4782521)
I think it's tough to ask a hitter to radically change what he is doing. If he tries to punch a ball the other way maybe he hits a weak pop up or chopper to the mound. If he hits the ball hard it gets through or over the infield...ballgame. I think asking Smith to change his style is not that far removed from "well why don't guys just choke up and put the ball in play with two strikes" type analysis. Seth Smith is in the Major Leagues entirely because of his ability to hit. Yeah it's annoying when he does this but if he takes the same swing and cranks one to the gap he's the hero.

The bigger issue I have with the approach is simply going after a low pitch. In that situation he should be looking for something up. Of course the pitcher is in the Major Leagues because he can pitch and presumably part of that is the ability to fool good hitters into hitting his pitch rather than theirs.
   21. Brian White Posted: August 30, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4782529)
Perhaps Smith didn't read the ball as being a sinker out of the pitcher's hand. It was pretty clearly a strike, and he didn't want to go down 0-2 at a time when a strikeout is a real killer, so a swing is necessary. The ball starts out inside, and hey, better hit it where its pitched, right? So Smith aims to pull, hoping to loft a fly ball into right. But that pitch had some pretty nice movement to it, down and away, giving the Dodgers just what they wanted.
   22. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 30, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4782531)
I think it's tough to ask a hitter to radically change what he is doing.


And I don't think it should ever be radical change for a player to be able to hit a ball on the outside the other way. Hell, scores of righthanded hitters, many much, much better hitters than Seth Smith, have done so for generations in much less useful situations (runner on second at any random point of the game) than the situation here.

And Seth Smith didn't get to the big leagues by trying to pull the down-and-away pitch.

If he hits the ball hard it gets through or over the infield...ballgame.


Over, perhaps. It wasn't getting through.

Yeah it's annoying when he does this but if he takes the same swing and cranks one to the gap he's the hero.


He didn't need to crank one to the gap. He needed to hit a fly ball to the outfield or any grounder the other way. If Gordon doesn't #### it up, Smith hits into a double play using that approach that can't be trifled with. I just think it's bad baseball.

   23. bobm Posted: August 30, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4782552)
I can vaguely recall a game at Wrigley in the early 80's on Saturday GOTW. Chuck Tanner's Pirates were the opposing team. Bottom of 9th (or possibly in extras), Cubs has bases loaded and the wind was blowing out.

This game in 1979 otherwise is the only one during Tanner's tenure to match these criteria: Saturday, Pirates @ Cubs, Bases loaded, bottom of 9th or later.
   24. severian Posted: August 31, 2014 at 01:19 AM (#4782653)
This game in 1979 otherwise is the only one during Tanner's tenure to match these criteria: Saturday, Pirates @ Cubs, Bases loaded, bottom of 9th or later.


That could be the game, but it doesn't meet the Scully criteria, since he didn't join the NBC booth until 1980.
   25. Traderdave Posted: August 31, 2014 at 01:49 AM (#4782656)
I didn't start following baseball so closely until '82 or '83. It may not have been bases loaded, could have been runner on 3rd, but it was a situation when a fly ball of any distance would have won the game right there, so Tanner drew in both the infield and outfield. After thinking it over, I recall my dad explaining it to me that way, and maybe it wasn't Scully, but I think it was, 'cause my dad was a Brooklyn fan who loved Scully even after '57 and made it a point to watch any game VS called.
   26. bobm Posted: August 31, 2014 at 07:32 AM (#4782669)
That could be the game, but it doesn't meet the Scully criteria, since he didn't join the NBC booth until 1980.

1983 IIRC.
   27. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 31, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4782749)
it seems pretty clear that the current philosophy of hitting emphasizes hitting the ball hard, and deemphasizes making contact, right? and this has to be part of why the shift works: what seems straightforward to us simply isn't to these guys; it's a skill they don't have any more. the evolution of fielding, etc, made weak contact, contact for its own sake, into a losing strategy.
   28. The District Attorney Posted: August 31, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4782753)
Gabe Kapler on why it's harder than it looks.
   29. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 31, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4782761)
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller discussed this extensively on the Effectively Wild podcast the other day. Worth a listen:

Podcast link

referring to
Ben's article here.

-- MWE

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Infinite Joost (Voxter)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8168 - 4:18pm, Sep 30)
Last: Bitter Mouse

NewsblogThe Economist: The new market inefficiencies
(6 - 4:18pm, Sep 30)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogMadden: How dare the sabermetrics crowd and others try to diminish Derek Jeter’s greatness
(172 - 4:18pm, Sep 30)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogMLB’s Biggest Star Is 40 (And He Just Retired). That Could Be A Problem.
(60 - 4:15pm, Sep 30)
Last: AROM

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(453 - 4:12pm, Sep 30)
Last: Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun)

NewsblogAL WILD CARD GAME 2014 OMNICHATTER
(95 - 4:06pm, Sep 30)
Last: Roger Cedeno's Spleen

NewsblogFangraphs/Cistulli: Post-trade WAR for deadline trades
(13 - 3:57pm, Sep 30)
Last: Ray (RDP)

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(4062 - 3:26pm, Sep 30)
Last: Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora

NewsblogThe Calm-Before-The-Storm and Postseason Prediction OMNICHATTER, 2014
(96 - 3:21pm, Sep 30)
Last: john_halfz

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-30-2014
(14 - 3:20pm, Sep 30)
Last: stanmvp48

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1959 Discussion
(1 - 3:09pm, Sep 30)
Last: DL from MN

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1958 Ballot
(12 - 2:55pm, Sep 30)
Last: Mark Armour

NewsblogThe Captain’s Log: Derek Jeter’s Lady-Killing Past, From ‘Yeah, Jeets!’ to Gift Baskets
(31 - 2:48pm, Sep 30)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(398 - 2:43pm, Sep 30)
Last: Der-K and the statistical werewolves.

NewsblogBrown: Winners And Losers: MLB Attendance In 2014, Nearly 74 Million Through The Gate
(15 - 2:17pm, Sep 30)
Last: Misirlou's been working for the drug squad

Page rendered in 0.3975 seconds
53 querie(s) executed