Scott Schebler not afraid to bunt to beat shift

Defensive shift frustrated Schebler on Wednesday


The defensive shift tempts batters as much as it frustrates them. A well-placed bunt kills the shift and discourages defenses from trying it in the future. Of course, beating the shift is easier said than done.

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Scott Schebler discovered that Wednesday at Great American Ball Park. His attempt to beat a shift by the Baltimore Orioles failed when he bunted back to pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Schebler was not pleased when he returned to the dugout.

“It stinks to throw away at-bats,” Schebler said Thursday before the series finale. “That’s part of the game. You’ve only got so many chances.”

Schebler bunted to the left side for a hit to beat the shift Sunday against the Brewers. He has tried it twice now.

“It’s all situation based,” he said. “It’s definitely one of those things you can’t do until you get to the plate because you don’t know if they’re going to shift you. I messed up on a changeup yesterday. I came forward with it. It’s just one of those things. I practice it a lot. I have had success with it. I will do it again at some point.”

Even if he’s successful half the time, Schebler will consider that an accomplishment.

“Three out of 10 is a success in this game,” Schebler said. “If you can do something at a 50-percent rate, that’s a good thing.”

Schebler has struggled in the first month. Through Wednesday, he was hitting .170. In the first six games of this 10-game homestand, he was 3-for-19.

Schebler has hit sixth in the order 10 times, fifth twice and fourth once. Manager Bryan Price batted him seventh Thursday but said it didn’t have anything to do with his struggles. It was more about the pitcher on the mound, Orioles left-hander Wade Miley. Price wanted Zack Cozart to hit sixth, one spot after Eugenio Suarez because the right-handed Cozart hits better against lefties than the left-handed Schebler.

Price remains confident in Schebler, who isn’t the only Reds batter struggling. Jose Peraza is hitting .228. Joey Votto is hitting .222.

“I have no loss of confidence in Scott,” Price said. “I think Scott can be a sensational player in this league. He has all the physical tools to be an outstanding player. I have as much confidence in him being a great player than maybe even he does, but I doubt that. I’m very optimistic about Scott’s future. It’s a slow start, but he’ll be joining that fraternity of a lot of really good players who have got off to slow starts.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Michigan, Jim Harbaugh will continue pursuit of elusive win against Ohio State
Michigan, Jim Harbaugh will continue pursuit of elusive win against Ohio State

MADISON, Wis. — This weekend will be Jim Harbaugh’s latest chance this season to lead Michigan to a signature win. It will be Harbaugh’s latest chance this season to earn a win in a rivalry series. The No. 24 Wolverines schedule goes from difficult to even more difficult. Michigan (8-3, 5-3) hosts No. 9 Ohio State at noon...
Kentucky football: Grading the Wildcats’ 42-13 loss at Georgia
Kentucky football: Grading the Wildcats’ 42-13 loss at Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — Kentucky was beaten up by Georgia on Saturday night at Sanford Stadium. The No. 7 Bulldogs started slow, but ran away from the Wildcats in a 42-13 blowout. Kentucky fell to 7-4 overall, and 4-4 in the SEC. Coach Mark Stoops’ squad finished .500 in the SEC for the second consecutive season...
What Mississippi State said about Arkansas after defeating the Razorbacks
What Mississippi State said about Arkansas after defeating the Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas fell to Mississippi State, 28-21, on Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas (4-7, 1-6 SEC) held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and a 21-14 advantage after the third quarter, but the Razorbacks failed to hold both leads. The No. 16-ranked Bulldogs scored the final 14 points...
Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano’s toughness can’t be questioned after fighting through ankle injury
Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano’s toughness can’t be questioned after fighting through ankle injury

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee had only one scholarship quarterback available in the loss against LSU on Saturday, and he wasn’t even completely healthy himself. An injured ankle has limited redshirt sophomore Jarrett Guarantano after missing the previous game against Missouri, but he gutted his way into a solid performance...
College football hot seat rankings: Being Bret Bielema isn’t so fun anymore
College football hot seat rankings: Being Bret Bielema isn’t so fun anymore

The SEC is the place to be for a coach whose fortunes quickly go from good to bad. It happened to Florida’s Jim McElwain and Tennessee’s Butch Jones, both of whom no longer are employed, and the next one we could be saying goodbye to is Arkansas’ Bret Bielema. A 28-21 loss to Mississippi State on Saturday means...
More Stories