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September 16, 2013

Overthinking It

The Latest Attempts to Beat the Shift

by Ben Lindbergh


A few minutes into the bottom of the first inning of Sunday night’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees, a Dustin Pedroia groundout and a Daniel Nava double brought up David Ortiz.

“He’s made a concerted effort to hit the ball the other way a lot more this season, that’s why the average is so high,” said ESPN’s Dan Shulman. Before he could finish the sentence, Ortiz grounded a single to left. “And there he goes,” Shulman said.

Over the replay, Shulman continued, “This is David Ortiz right now. He’s very content on driving in runs with singles. You see that swing. That’s not a pull swing, that’s not an ‘I’m going to try to hit a home run.’ I have a big hole with a runner on second base, if I hit a grounder to shortstop I’ve got an RBI and our team has a tie game.”

Ortiz’s groundball spray charts for 2012 and 2013 (which alternate in the following GIF) confirm that he’s going the other way more often:

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Related Content:  Adam Dunn,  Defensive Shifts,  David Ortiz,  The Shift

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