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The Giants aren't shifting nearly as much as they used to

The early returns have the Giants shifting less and the Astros continuing to be weirdos.

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

This is a nugget of information that doesn't lead to an argument or thesis. There is no broader point to make here, at least not yet. But when someone points out that the Giants aren't shifting nearly as much as other teams, dang it, it's my job to re-point it out.

According to Stats, LLC, via Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are using an infield shift just eight percent of the time, which is the fifth-lowest mark in baseball. So ... well, now you know that. And

The Giants have never been completely nutty with their shifts -- calm down, Astros -- but they've done plenty in the past. In 2014, the Giants were solidly in the middle tier of teams with their number of shifts, just a little below average, but they were statistically successful with their shifts, too. Two seasons later, and they haven't exactly abandoned the shift, but it's not a huge part of their defensive alignments early in 2016.

There are possible explanations for this that don't have to be "the Giants aren't fan of the infield shift anymore." They've played just six teams, including the Dodgers seven times. They might not have faced a whole bunch of pull hitters who required the shift, save for Adrian Gonzalez and a couple others. Maybe when they get to the Padres or Reds they'll get really shifty.

It's also possible that the Giants are listening to their players a little more, because apparently infield shifts can drive pitchers nuts.

"I think just mentally for me I can live with a hard-hit ball getting through a hole as opposed to a soft, cheap ground ball that goes through because no one is playing there because of a shift," Kershaw said. "Mentally, it’s just easier for me to swallow. You start making excuses in your head like, ‘Ah, I made my pitch.’ You just don’t want to have that in the back of your mind. At least I don’t."

That makes sense, at least a little. Except it would work in reverse, too, when a pitcher starts to think everything's coming up Milhouse when a ball is hit into the shift.

I thought that was a hit off the bat. Cain probably did, too. There have been a couple of those this year.

So keep an eye out for the possibly decreasing Giants shifts. It doesn't have to mean anything, because nothing does on April 25, but it's something to watch.

Also, I'm still in favor of the Giants dropping down bunts to beat the shift every freaking time. That hasn't changed. Keep at it, Brandons.