Will Middlebrooks believes the tactic could provide a “massive advantage” to Boston specifically.
As Major League Baseball implements a series of new rules this season, teams will be forced to adjust their tactics to stay up to speed.
The Red Sox, perhaps ahead of the curve, found a creative way to avoid breaking one rule and give themselves a competitive advantage.
In their game against the Minnesota Twins on Friday, with left-handed hitter Joey Gallo at the plate, the Red Sox moved center-fielder Adam Duvall to shallow right field.
Raimel Tapia switched from left to center, Alex Verdugo stayed in his typical position in right, and left field was totally open, as the Red Sox created their own custom shift.
The new rule states that: 1) Two infielders must be positioned on either side of second base when the pitch is released, and 2) All four infielders must have both feet within the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber.
So, the Red Sox didn’t technically break any rules, but they are adjusting in a way that might make MLB officials raise their eyebrows.
Gallo walked, so it ended up not mattering either way, but it will be interesting to see if other teams follow suit in the coming months. Perhaps the league will adjust the rule slightly to prevent it from becoming a trend.
Red Sox analyst Will Middlebrooks noted that the Red Sox have a “massive advantage,” because the Green Monster will allow them to continue this approach against power-hitting lefties. Doing so will theoretically get them out of their normal approach.