Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 4/28/16

  • April 28, 2016

Joe Girardi thinks it’s time for baseball to outlaw defensive shifts. The manager of the Yankees said this should be illegal. He then proceeded to explain why, and in the process kind of made a fool of himself.

“It’s an illegal defense, like basketball. Guard your man, guard your spot,” said Girardi. “If I were commissioner, they would be illegal”.

Bad news, Joe. That illegal defense you described is no longer illegal in the NBA. They dumped it and the zone defense is now legal. There’s still the three-second rule, but that’s it. The mandate that teams play man-to-man defense no longer exists.

As for Girardi’s contention that defensive shifting should not be allowed in baseball, I think that’s utterly ridiculous. It’s a strategy intended to take advantage of hitters who constantly pull the ball. It’s been around forever, although it’s not until recently with the expansion of analytics that it has become more widely used. But this was a defense teams used all the time against the great Ted Williams. It’s just part of the game.

My question to Girardi would be this. Why not have your hitters try to go the opposite way where the field is wide open? Perhaps they could even resort to bunting for what amounts to a freebie single. Do it often enough and the other team will stop shifting, I can pretty well guarantee that.

Regardless, the entire idea is preposterous to me. It’s akin to outlawing lefty specialists who excel in getting lefty hitters out. If shifting is a great advantage to the defense, than so is that. If you don’t think your lefty hitter has much of a chance against the lefty specialist, send up a righty hitter in his place.

The bottom line is that it’s a legal strategy and it’s part of the game. I won’t deny it can be frustrating at times, but outlawing a good strategy is inane, in my opinion.

A couple of tough one-run losses on the diamond on Wednesday, but I still managed a small profit on the four baseball plays. The Predators finished off the Ducks on the ice for another series winner, so a net profit on the day of just a bit less than two units, and the excellent April results continue. I’m on one baseball game as well as an NBA hookup today.

For details on the guaranteed deal I’m presently offering, simply email me at When you’re ready to purchase, the easiest way to do so is by utilizing the dropdown menu on this page.

I’m having a helluva good month, but the daily free plays just aren’t getting there for the most part. No rational reason to explain why, as I simply choose one of the plays I’m on each day, and weirdly keep opting for wrong one in this space. I’ll try going the NBA route today. Note I’m 6-0 so far with NBA playoff games, and I’d like to keep that streak rolling with this play.


Take: HAWKS -1.5

Brad Stevens has the Celtics way ahead of schedule as far as their rebuilding process goes. I don’t think there’s much question Boston is on the way back to being a contender. But right now, they’re a shorthanded squad that might be running out of gas and I suspect the Celts will get closed out tonight.

The home team has won each of the five games in this series, but I don’t see much argument to the assessment that Atlanta has been the superior team in this series. Fact is, the Hawks probably ought to be relaxing and waiting for the second round already, but give the Celtics credit for grinding out two wins at home to make this series interesting.

But the injury report has wreaked havoc with the Celtics. Losing Avery Bradley was a huge blow to Boston’s chances of winning this series. Kelly Olynyk has been extremely limited. Now Isaiah Thomas is nursing an ankle, and while he’ll play tonight, I would not be surprised if the exciting guard is a bit limited physically.

I don’t believe the Hawks are any better than Boston with full rosters on each side. But that hasn’t been the case in this series and it looks to me as though the Celtics are getting worn down at this point. They were really dragging in the second half of Game Five and I’m not sure they have enough fuel in the tank to battle Atlanta on even or better terms for 48 minutes at this juncture.

The bettors apparently don’t feel the same way, in spite of some clear adjustments in the numbers by the oddsmakers. Boston was a three-point favorite in Game Three. Now one week later, they’re a 1.5 or perhaps even a two-point dog against the same team on the same court. Yet the ticket percentage count continues to be pretty defined, if not a landslide. And once again, as I’m writing this piece, the Celtics are again commanding most of the attention from the players.

I know the Celtics are going to give this all they’ve got, as this is simply not a team that mails it in. But we did see a white flag get waved in Game Five and while this won’t be as lopsided, I believe the gap between these teams is widening. I’m spotting the small spread and backing the Hawks to wrap up the series with the win and cover tonight.