MLB.com's Daren Willman showed how the Astros positioned their defense with a four-man outfield that had third baseman Alex Bregman in left field during Gallo's first-inning at-bat:
The Athletic's Jake Kaplan noted hitters like Jay Bruce, Justin Bour, Logan Morrison and Matt Adams saw this four-man outfield alignment against the Astros in spring training.
Hinch explained to Kaplan the reasoning behind the strategy:
“It's not a gimmick play as much as it's a coverage. Like any shifting that you do, you're trying to put guys in a position where we can cover the most ground that makes the most sense. And some guys, when you look at fly-ball rates and you look at where they actually hit the ball, you don't want to defend an area where there's minimal chance of those guys hitting it, and a lot of times that's on the ground on the opposite side of the field.”
Given all the analytics being used across MLB today, teams could look to use unique defensive alignments like the four-man outfield more often if odds suggest it is more likely to result in an out.