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.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)