During today’s game against San Diego, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, the former New York Yankee, put four players on the same side of the infield (the right) to prepare for southpaw Seth Smith at bat. Announcer Vin Scully described it as looking “like a chorus line.” Called an infield shift, loading up one side against a batter who pulls the ball most of the time is a common strategy–baseball is a game of percentages after all. But Mattingly broke new ground with this shift, placing four rather than the customary three players to one side. ESPN’s Dodgers Report believes Mattingly just authored the first four-man shift in history.
The game was tied in the 12th inning, bases loaded. Justin Turner stood by himself at third base. On the second pitch, Yahoo! Sports reports that Smith “banged a one-hopper to Gordon [one of the four defenders] who in turn made a one-hop peg to home to catch the lead runner.”