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#pounditMonday, September 21, 2020

Look: Rays use five outfielders in extreme shift against Matt Olson

Rays shift

The Tampa Bay Rays are known for being one of the most creative teams in baseball, and some of their creativity was on display during the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday night in Oakland.

When A’s first baseman Matt Olson was batting in the third inning, the Rays went into an extreme shift that included five outfielders and only two infielders.

Olson walked in the at-bat, so we didn’t get to see how well-placed the fielders may have been.

Tampa Bay obviously believes Olson is a pull hitter who also tends to hit deep fly balls, which explains why they had so many outfielders near the warning track. They also had two infielders to protect against potential bunts as well.

We saw an even more extreme shift used by the Houston Astros during the season. As teams acquire more and more data, they are able to place their defenders accordingly, just as Tampa Bay did for Olson.

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