Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!
The shift: it punishes left handed batters. It punishes push hitters. Who knows how it would have affected the career of Pete Rose? Wait—did you just ask, “Who cares?” Fair enough. But whatever you think of Charlie Hustle, the shift has certainly been both defensively effective and controversial.
As Jayson Stark at The Athletic detailed yesterday, experiments in limiting the shift in the minor leagues had almost no impact last year, as simply requiring two infielders to play on each side of second base seemed easy to work around. In response, a more restrictive “pie-slice rule” will begin its test run in the Low-A Florida State League beginning July 22nd.
The pie-slice takes the “two on each side” rule a step further by creating a pie-shaped zone drawn with two chalk lines running from the outfield-facing edges of second base to the edge of the infield dirt (there’s a helpful illustration of this in Stark’s piece). This zone will be off limits for infielders when the ball is not in play. This means that an infielder can be positioned right next to the bag, but the deeper he plays, the farther to the left or right he is forced to set up.
Time will tell how many more hits will sneak through the pie-slice, but it’s easy to imagine the change will have some effect. Stark indicates that while there is no clear ETA for shift restrictions in the big leagues, they will inevitably be implemented in some form sooner or later.
I’m interested to see how the pie-slice plays out in the minors, but I’m more concerned with what effect it could have on our late-game thread banter. Athletics Nation members have been fond of the “one to tie, two for pie” adage in potential walk-off situations; could the infield pie-slice confuse matters?
Perhaps a new saying will be, “Through the pie to break the tie!”
- Ashford: Game #89: A’s win slugfest, beat Rangers 14-7
- Hall: A’s claim David McKay off waivers, DFA Jake Lemoine
- Hall: A’s roster moves: Jared Koenig called up, Adrian Martinez optioned
- Grover: MLB Draft 2022: Evaluating Drew Gilbert and Jacob Melton as potential A’s picks
- Kawahara: ‘The worst first half I’ve had;’ A’s Tony Kemp eyes a post-break rebound ($)
- Gallegos: ‘Pretty surreal’: Neuse puts the ‘home’ in home run
- Espinoza: Paul Blackburn thinks first All-Star experience is ‘gonna be amazing’
MLB News & Interest:
- Gelb: How the Phillies are navigating COVID-19 vaccine absences and a depleted roster for their Toronto trip ($)
- Stark: Low-A league adopting new shift-limiting rule as MLB weighs similar changes: Sources ($)
- Stark: Explaining baseball’s next experiment to limit shifts: The ‘pie-slice rule’ ($)
- Rosenthal: ‘I wanted the heat’ — Gerrit Cole vs. Rafael Devers, plus more on Yankees and Red Sox ($)
- Franco: The Angels’ Top Rental Trade Chip
- Franco: Injured List Transactions: Sale, Jansen, Garver
- McCullough: Luis Castillo trade destinations: Who could be in the mix for the Reds starter? ($)
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
On Montas’ progress.
Frankie Montas threw a bullpen session today of about 25 pitches and felt good coming out of it. Hope remains that he can make a start in Houston over the weekend.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 12, 2022
Hopefully we’ll see more like this next time Pache comes up...
Just going to leave this game-tying Cristian Pache tank right here on your timeline. You know, just in case you wanted to have sweet dreams about the future of the A’s when you go to sleep tonight. #DrumTogether pic.twitter.com/rz30goM4ku— Uprooted (@uprootedoakland) July 13, 2022
...and of course Shea had to get in on the fun!
After trading with the Rays, the A’s pillage their scrapheap.
McKay has a 6.46 ERA in 29 career MLB relief appearances with four teams. The Rays DFA'd him to clear a 40-man roster spot for Christian Bethancourt. https://t.co/vCAuNDJe5q— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 12, 2022
More All-Stars named yesterday.
All-Star additions:— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 12, 2022
J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
Garrett Cooper, Marlins
Carlos Rodón, Giants https://t.co/By8XIB19oK
The Gate of Reverberating Drums.
B GATE— Guy Sliwinski (@GuySliwinski) July 12, 2022
My series of Coliseum tribute pieces have been popular with fans of this old building. Here’s my love for the gate that’s by the surplus (Raider) seats & home to the echoes of the RF bleachers! Let’s go Oakland! @Athletics #DrumTogether pic.twitter.com/VVacBHyEuo
2019 Coliseum fan experience vs 2022 Coliseum fan experience pic.twitter.com/mKeVBnlECE— Hal the Hot Dog Guy (@AsHotDog) July 12, 2022