Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander Rich Hill went into an expletive-laced tirade Wednesday night after the team allowed a bunt single down the third base side because the area was vacated for the shift.
Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi laid down the bunt while three Dodgers infielders, expecting that the lefthanded Choi would pull the ball, were playing to the right side in the first inning. But Choi bunted the other way and the ball never got near a fielder as Choi picked up an easy single. The play led to the profane outburst from Hill.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Hill appeared to drop four f-bombs in the tirade, including two as he defined correctly -- but profanely -- what happens when teams shift on lefthanded pull hitters: the “whole f------ left side is f------ is fully wide open” as he was walking off the mound.
Hill was asked after the game whether he saw a problem with Choi bunting or the infield being opened on the left side.
“In my opinion, I never enjoy seeing an entire part of an infield left open,” he told reporters, according to 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.”
He added: “It's one of those things, damned if you do, damned if you don't.’ 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 Dodgers and Rays are among the "shiftiest" teams in the majors. According to Baseball Savant, the Dodgers use the shift 38.5 percent of the time and the Rays use it 29.5 percent.
While Los Angeles’ use of the shift -- and Choi's bunt hit against it -- didn’t lead to any runs in the first inning, the Dodgers still lost the game, 8-1.