The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. With DJ LeMahieu at the plate in the first inning of the D-backs-Rockies game on Friday night, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo decided to make an interesting move: He shifted the entire outfield toward right field, leaving left field wide open.
While this was already an odd decision, it was made even odder by the fact that LeMahieu is a right-handed hitter. All he would have to do is pull the ball -- something most Major Leaguers try to do -- and he'd be able to run all day. However, LeMahieu is not like most hitters as he sprays the ball to the opposite field more often than any hitter other than Joe Mauer .
So the decision was right. And LeMahieu did hit the ball to right field. Only problem? There was still no stopping this ball.
Trust the process, not the results.
L: D-backs OF v LeMahieu on his 2B down RF line- David Adler (@_dadler) September 2, 2017
R: LeMahieu's LD/FB heatmap since Statcast's intro in '15
Fine shift, DJ can just really hit pic.twitter.com/NCzz2al0ME
"We do a lot of work here behind the scenes, and Dave McKay presented that to me in pre-game," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told MLB.com's Owen Perkins. "It's a super shift times ten. I've never seen anything like it, but LeMahieu's a batting champ. He's a guy that uses that side of the field very extensively and very successfully. We just wanted to take away the dominant lanes. We were taking some risks."
"I could have pulled a homer down the left field line with a ground ball," LeMahieu said. Even with that tantalizing possibility, he didn't change his approach. "All I have to do is get a hit to the left side for a triple and it will even out a little bit. I'm not worried about it."
It's a similar outcome as when the Cubs loaded up the outfield with four players and Joey Votto still beat them for a double. Hitters gonna hit, I guess.