Phillies' Asche breaks up Rockies no-hitter by beating shift
On Friday, the Phillies' Cody Asche broke up Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis’ no-hitter in the eighth inning by hitting a ball the other way toward the shortstop. Normally that might have been a routine grounder to Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but not with the shift on. According to MLB.com, Asche was fully aware of the hole at shortstop, and he was aiming for it:
"I was trying to [hit the ball the other way] all night," he said. "I just did it the last time. A shift like that can't go unnoticed.”
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg also noticed the Rockies’ shifts. He said:
"That's the most shift I've seen on our whole lineup," Sandberg said. "I think even [on] Freddy Galvis [the Rockies] had a modified shift. They were playing some odds there and some drastic defense.”
It’s been reported that the Rockies are among the teams employing defensive shifts significantly more this season compared to 2014. Although Rockies manager Walt Weiss admitting having “thoughts” going through his head following the hit that went through the shift, he looked at the positive:
"But you can't go down that road. We stole some outs with the shift tonight, too."
Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports