PHILADELPHIA - The radical defensive shifts being employed throughout Major League Baseball have had a measurable effect on run production this year, but they’re not infallible, especially for offensive players willing to swallow their pride and adapt.
We take you now to the 10th inning at Citizens Bank Park where the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies were locked in a 5-5 standoff.
Melky Cabrera singled to lead off for Toronto, bringing power-hitting pull hitter Jose Bautista to the plate. The Philadelphia infielders dutifully took their places on the left side of the diamond, responding to Bautista’s tendencies.
Bautista worked the count to 2-2 against lefty Antonio Bastardo. On the fifth pitch, Bautista reached out to the ball on the outside part of the plate and banged it softly through the right side of the diamond. There wasn’t a defender within 50 feet as it meandered its way onto the outfield grass while Cabrera easily went to third base. One out later, Juan Francisco lofted a fly ball to medium-centre field and Cabrera scored without a play at the plate to give Toornto a 6-5 lead.