ST. PETERSBURG -- Saturday night's 8-6 win over the Yankees ended with the Rays employing an infield shift to the left when right-handed-hitting veteran Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate. The Yankees slugger hit the first pitch he saw to second baseman Sean Rodriguez, who was positioned on the shortstop side of the bag.
While the shift was unusual, the Rays have shifted to the left against right-handers in the past.
"It just makes sense," Sean Rodriguez said. "A guy like A-Rod is not normally used to getting shifted against. If you think about it, they're trying to pull wide, because they're trying to drive the ball into the gap or hit a home run.
"So even at best case, if they're swinging the bat well and they're like, 'I want to hit the ball to the four-hole because it's wide open,' well, that's fine, because he's not going to beat us on the basepaths. So we'll take that single over him actually trying to drive that ball, so we've taken him out of his game plan. He's thinking about hitting singles instead of hitting doubles or home runs."
Rodriguez might have been positioned in an odd place, but his mind-set remained the same prior to the ground ball that ended the game.
"The infield was a little choppy yesterday, so that ball came up," the Rays infielder said. "But yeah, I want that ball hit to me in that situation, most definitely. And that's what you're thinking -- 'Hit the ball to me; end this game right now.' You have to feel that way. You have to want the ball hit to you in that situation. That's what you work hard for."