Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Infield shift works on Harper
When Bryce Harper smoked a fifth-inning pitch from Trevor Cahill back up the middle and through the Diamondbacks right-hander's legs, he assumed (like everyone else at Nationals Park last night) he had just recorded the third base hit of his career.
And then shortstop John McDonald appeared out of nowhere to scoop up the ball behind second base and make a routine throw to first to get Harper by a step.
"I was pretty upset," Harper said. "I hit it through his legs and I was reading base hit, and he just played me up the gut and got me. ... Nothing I could do about it."
What happened? Credit the Diamondbacks' advance scouting department for knowing exactly where to position McDonald. The word is out: Harper is a pull-hitter. And until he proves otherwise, opposing managers are going to use the shift on him.
"I mean, they're no dummies," Davey Johnson said.
This isn't something Harper experienced the last season-plus in the minors.
"I haven't seen the shift since, I want to say, college," he said. "It worked their way tonight."
Posted by Mark Zuckerman at 11:03 AM