DETROIT -- The sight of Nick Castellanos running over from third base into short right field has become a trademark sight of the Tigers' defensive infield shifts under manager Brad Ausmus. Every once in a while, though, the Tigers shift more traditionally, with Castellanos moving over a few steps toward shortstop and Jose Iglesias joining Ian Kinsler on the right side of the infield.
It became more apparent against the A's, notably right fielder Josh Reddick. It's not a retreat from the shift they've normally been doing. It's a reaction to the hitter they're shifting against.
"Against [Josh] Reddick, when we shift, we spread the shift out on the right side of the infield," Ausmus said. "So we'd rather have the three fastest guys over there, because it's spread out so much. And against [Stephen] Vogt, it's more condensed, so we send Nick over. With Reddick, because it's spread out, we can push Kinsler back, and Kinsler's got more range out there in the larger space. That's all that is."
The Tigers don't have nearly as many variations on their shift as some other teams. More of their infield movement involves a step or two to one side or the other, based on hitter tendencies. Still, when their left side of the infield includes one of the rangier shortstops in the game, they might as well put him in a position to reach as many balls as he can.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.