ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays managed just five hits against Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill in Wednesday night's 8-1 Tampa Bay win, and two of those hits were singles through the shift to the left side.
And Hill didn’t like it, and he let it show, both during and after the game.
In the first inning, first baseman Ji-Man Choi dropped a bunt to the left side against a Dodgers shift that played three infielder to the right side and the fourth near the second base bag.
Watching Choi reach on the play didn’t make Hill happy, as he went into a expletive-laced tirade that can be found here. Fair warning: There’s a lot of cursing. The language is definitely NSFW.
Brandon Lowe, also being played to pull, singled to the left side off Hill later in the game.
Asked about Choi's bunt against the shift after the game, had less of a problem with Choi bunting than he did with his defense's alignment.
“In my opinion, I never enjoy seeing an entire part of an infield left open,” Hill said. “I think hitters are getting better at understanding how to beat the shift. No matter if you’re a power hitter or whatever you want to categorize your hitters in the top part, middle part or the end part of the lineup, guys are getting more savvy and understanding how to beat the shift. We have to make adjustments to that. I think we will moving forward.”
"It's one of those things, damned if you do, damned if you don't," Hill continued. "I love it when it works and hate it when it doesn't. It is one of those things where you get a little hesitant when you see and entire part of the field left open. For me, I prefer not to have that, but understanding that goes in is appreciated.
The Rays and the Dodgers are among the teams that most utilize the shift.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @EddieInTheYard.