Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boston Red Sox's extreme Defensive Shift on Colby Rasmus

In this series Boston is Playing a shift against Rasmus that has the 3rd baseman, with runners at 2nd and 3rd, playing pick-off depth from the 2nd Base bag. (The 2nd baseman is playing a regular 2nd base position, short and towards the line; the Shortstop is playing shallow right, shaded to the right field foul line; and the first baseman is playing on the baseline, shaded towards the bag - so a triangle the base of which draws a line starting half-way between 1st and 2nd.)

Diagram of the Boston Red Sox's extreme Defensive Shift on Colby Rasmus in the Top of the 5th in game two of a three game set played in Boston on the evening of Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 Outs, Toronto leading 3-1.

In the top of the 5th Bautista is down the line about half-way to home, but he could come further than that - the safe lead-off in this situation, is how fast the 3rd baseman can run from near second base over to 3rd base to take a pick-off throw from the pitcher; so theoretically Bautista could lead-off 3rd about as far from 3rd Base as the 3rd baseman is from 3rd base! (See the line I marked on the sketch above.)

So even playing it safe,one could imagine that the runner could stand so close to home that they could just start running and score as soon a the pitcher stepped on the rubber.

As play-by-play announcer Buck Martinez points at the moment the situation revealed itself - what if the runner with a lead like that tried to steal home?

At approximately 30 feet from home, even with a left handed batter at the plate (so standing in the 1st base side batter's box, therefore not blocking the view - or partially inadvertently blocking the catcher's path to the top-left corner of the plate), the runner could likely succeed at a steal of home by just breaking for home as soon as the pitcher comes set on the mound!

Michael Holloway

ESPN Box Score: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox, Game 2 - Play-by-Play, 5th Inning -


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