Rays' adjustment for Ortiz creates opportunity for thievery
BOSTON -- There are consequences to playing the shift on David Ortiz. With three infielders on the right side of second base, there's enough room on the left side of the infield for a lot of wild stuff to happen.
In the third inning on Monday, during Boston's 6-2 win over Tampa Bay (the original team to use the shift against Ortiz), Shane Victorino saw third baseman Evan Longoria playing way off the bag, essentially playing shortstop. And with Dustin Pedroia on first base, two of the team's most instinctual baserunners created a run.
Pedroia took off from first as soon as Rays starter Roberto Hernandez began his motion toward home. Victorino, who had an abnormal-sized lead to begin with, took a monster secondary lead that had him almost halfway to home when catcher Jose Molina received the ball.
Molina threw to second in an attempt to nail Pedroia, and Victorino stole home with ease to give the Red Sox their second run.
"Instincts, boys," said Victorino of his 14th stolen base of the season.
Instincts, and help from the Rays' defense.
"Obviously, they gave me enough room, with Longoria playing over with the shift, so I had an ample amount of room," Victorino said. "That's the reason I went -- understanding how far I had, how much space I had. That's why it kind of looked like I hesitated."
Manager John Farrell said that the steal of home might not be the last for the Red Sox.
"With certain runners that we have, when we're in a first-and-third situation with less than two outs, if we see that ball go through the middle of the infield, that runner at third base is anticipating it," Farrell said. "It just so happens the ball gets away on the throw down to second base, and we're able to steal a run with the double steal.
"Can't say it's a planned play, but we didn't have a double steal on in that case. At the same time, Shane's instincts clearly played out in that situation."