It was a bit odd to see the Rays shift so significantly against Curtis Granderson on Opening Day, but by the end of the weekend it became normal to see the Rays use a shift in some form or another against nearly every player in the lineup.
“That’s a defense I’ve never seen before,” Nick Swisher told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “I don’t think anybody has ever seen that, especially to everybody. You’re talking about everybody from Curt to Al, Cano, Tex, myself. I can even think of a hard-hit ball Tex had last night, man, takes that run away. Curt hit two lasers up the middle yesterday and (Sean) Rodriguez was standing right behind second base. We can’t get frustrated because we’re not getting results because we are putting great at-bats together. We’re doing things the right way. We just haven’t picked up that first W yet.”
This is something the Yankees are not going to be able to ignore as they play the Rays something like 15 more times this season. Hitters need to start going away more often and focusing on pitches that will be less susceptible against the shift.
The important thing to remember is that the process is more important than the results. The Yankees did a lot of things right that just didn’t work out for them (I’m talking about in the batter’s box, not managerial decisions). A few players are hitting the ball quite hard and haven’t much to show for it. If they keep things up, hits will start falling in. Particularly against the Orioles, who aren’t managed by Joe Maddon.