Rich Hill explains profane meltdown after Rays beat shift
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill suffered a meltdown during Wednesday’s 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, and later explained what inspired the expletive-laden outburst.
In the first inning, Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi dropped a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line, one made even better by the Dodgers being in an extreme shift with three infielders right of second base bag and another right near it.
The easy single elicited a series of f-bombs out of Hill, along with another choice word or two. Video can be found here, though viewer discretion is advised.
It obviously should go without saying that Hill is no fan of the shift, although he did qualify his opinion when explaining the profane meltdown after the game.
“In my opinion, I never enjoy seeing an entire part of an infield left open,” Hill said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “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 shifts employed by MLB teams to a varying degree — the Rays and Dodgers interestingly are among the ball clubs that use them the most — without question are an integral part of baseball now. Yet, as Hill mentions, as hitters become more savvy and learn how to beat them, teams will have no choice but to again alter their approach to playing defense.