By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire


One of the many new analytics that has caught on in major-league baseball is to shift the infielders when certain batters are at the plate. So far this season, shifting occurs nearly 25 percent of the time. In total, 19,141 shifts have been applied defensively in the 1,020 games played through Thursday. By the end of the season – if this pace continues, then 45,601 shifts will have been used against both right- and left-handed batters. When a left-handed batter is at the plate a shift will occur 40.6 percent of the time (12,589 shifts in 30,990 plate appearances), while right-handed batters have seen a percentage of only 14.3 (6,552 shifts in 45,902 plate appearances). First baseman Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles leads major-league batters by enduring nearly 96 percent of his plate appearances lined up in a shift (144 shifts in 150 plate appearances). St. Louis Cardinals’ infielder Matt Carpenter leads the National League at 87.7 percent when the infield shifts (228 shifts in 260 plate appearances). The only right-handed batter with a shift rate greater than 70 percent is the 74.9 percent that Philadelphia Phillies’ left fielder Rhys Hoskins witnesses. The 12 batters who have experienced the most shifts of 80 percent or more this season are (minimum 100 plate appearances; switch-hitters include both sides of the plate):

Batter Team (B) Total PA PA w/Shift Pct PA w/o Shifts
Chris Davis Orioles (L) 150 144 95.9 6
Joey Gallo Rangers (L) 210 201 95.7 9
Justin Smoak Blue Jays (B) 169 158 93.5 11
Jay Bruce Mariners/Phils (L) 205 184 89.7 21
Matt Carpenter Cardinals (L) 260 228 87.9 32
Mitch Moreland Red Sox (L) 170 148 87.1 22
Curtis Granderson Marlins (L) 197 168 85.3 29
Carlos Santana Indians(B) 188 160 85.1 28
Jose Ramirez Indians (B) 188 156 83.0 32
Brian McCann Braves (L) 133 109 82.6 24
Kole Calhoun Angels (L) 256 208 81.3 48
Dexter Fowler Cardinals (B) 162 131 80.5 31


Animation fans may want to journey to Milwaukee to see the Brewers’ celebration of the cartoon character Scooby-Doo’s 50th birthday on August 24. With a special “Theme Night” ticket package fans will be able to receive a special Brewer-themed Scooby-Doo bobblehead. The popular cartoon first debuted in 1969 and ran — in some format either as a television series or special release DVDs — until 2015. Boomerang, a new streaming service, has announced plans to revive the cartoon later this year and include the entire cartoon gang: Fred (Jones), Daphne (Blake), Velma (Dinkley), Norville “Shaggy” (Rogers) and, of course, their talking dog and title character, Scooby-Doo. The new series will be called “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?” The show’s only baseball-themed episode, which featured Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza, first aired in 2003 and followed the gang solving a mystery titled “The Unnatural,” which centered on a ghost called “The Baseball Specter.”


..Just four players with at least 100 minimum plate appearances have produced slash lines of .320/.360/.600 this season; Cody Bellinger (Dodgers – .358/.449/.704), Christian Yelich (Brewers – .345/.446/.749), Mitch Garver (Twins – .321/.410/.679) and Josh Bell (Pirates – .325/.392/.663).

… The postponement of Monday’s game between the visiting Mets and Yankees was the Bronx Bombers’ 10th of the season with nine of the postponements and/or delays coming at Yankee Stadium.

… The only teams, whose managers have yet to be ejected, are the Diamondbacks (Torey Lovullo), the Dodgers (Dave Roberts), the Indians (Terry Francona), Mariners (Scott Servais), the Marlins (Don Mattingly), the Phillies (Gabe Kapler), the Rays (Kevin Cash) and the Rockies (Bud Black).

… Rays’ OF Guillermo Heredia leads all outfielders with the highest average vertical jump of three feet; his Rays’ teammate CF Kevin Kiermaier is second with an average of 2.9 feet.

… According to the Jewish Baseball News at least 16 Jewish players were taken in last week’s major-league draft, which included one pick in the first round (outfielder Hunter Bishop) by the Giants and one pick in the second round (right-handed pitcher Josh Wolf) by the Mets.

… Only the A’s, Giants and Rays have only bullpens that are located along the foul lines, the remaining 27 teams all have them located either beyond outfield fences or under the bleachers; the last team to move the bullpens off the playing field were the Cubs who relocated them under an area of Wrigley Field’s bleachers in 2017.

Jose Abreu is tied with left fielder Eddie Rosario of the Twins for the A.L. lead in RBIs with 52; the first baseman is trying to become the first White Sox player to lead the junior circuit in RBIs since Dick Allen had 113 in 1972, which led to his winning the A.L. MVP.

… The Twins are averaging the farthest average distance on batted balls in the majors at 193 feet, while the Dodgers are tops in the N.L. with an average of 182 feet; the Marlins average distance is the lowest in the bigs at 154 feet.

… The Pirates lead the majors with the most individual players placed on the injured list with 23; the Yankees are second with 19.

Yuli Gurriel is one double away from passing Tony Oliva for the fastest to 100 career doubles by a Cuban-born player; through Wednesday the Astros’ infielder has played in 374 games while Oliva reached the mark in 398 contests for the Twins.

… On Tuesday night, Mike Leake for the 70th time since debuting in the bigs in 2010 didn’t walk a batter in a game; the Mariners’ right-hander trails only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (76 walkless games), the Red Sox’ Rick Porcello (72) and the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke (72) for the most walkless games by an active starter.

… For just the third time since moving to San Francisco in 1958, the Giants hosted three straight games (June 8 – 82 degrees, June 9 – 84 and Tuesday night – 85) that registered game-time temperatures of at least 80 degrees; the previous two times occurred Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, 2017 (AT&T Park) and June 29 to July 1, 1996 (Candlestick Park); the city cooled off on Wednesday preventing the team from playing for the first time in four straight home games with a game-time temperature of 80 or higher.

Jorge Polanco is leading all A.L. candidates at shortstop to begin this season’s All-Star voting; the last Twin infielder to start the “Midsummer Classic” was shortstop Roy Smalley III in 1979.

Gary Sanchez hit his 20th home run of the season on Tuesday to join Yogi Berra (10 times), Jorge Posada (8), Bill Dickey (4), Elston Howard (3) and Brian McCann (3) as the only Yankee catchers to hit 20 homers in a season three or more times.

… Tuesday night marked the 81st anniversary of Johnny Vander Meer‘s first of two consecutive no-hitters; on June 11, the Reds’ southpaw no-hit the Braves (then known as the Bees) 3-0 at Crosley Field, and four days later he held the Dodgers hitless during a 6-0 win at Ebbets Field on June 15, 1938.

… Rookie Chris Paddack has received run support that defies his 4-4 record and 3.15 ERA; the young Padre right hander has seen his team support him with one-run six times, two runs three times, three runs one time and four runs two times during his 12 starts.

Mike Moustakas‘ game-winning, eighth-inning home run not only helped the Brewers defeat the Pirates 5-2 on June 9, but it also helped season-ticket holder Mark Gruber win a brand new (not dented) Toyota RAV4 when the third baseman’s homer hit the roof of the car, which was parked beyond the center field fence at Miller Park; it was the first time in the six seasons of the “Hit the Car” promotion that the Wisconsin Toyota dealers have had to give away a car.

… The Mariners lead the majors with 148 two-out RBIs while the Marlins have the fewest with 78.

… There are three teams whose average age is younger than 27; the Orioles have an average age of 26 years and 282 days, the Padres’ average is 26 years and 319 days and the Blue Jays’ average is 26 years and 341 days.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score

Edited by Rick Wacha

Copyright 2019, Sports Features Group