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Sveum has been shifty with Cubs' defense

ATLANTA -- If you've watched the Cubs' first four games, you must have noticed all of the defensive shifts they've used. There have been times when third baseman Luis Valbuena is positioned between the second baseman and shortstop Starlin Castro as the infielders shift to the right.

"I think we just happen to play a couple teams that are no-brainers, so to speak, when it comes to that," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the infielders' movement. "There's less than a one or two-percent [chance] of balls hit to the opposite side."

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Cubs third base coach David Bell positions the infielders while first base coach Dave McKay handles the outfielders. Their charts break down players' averages when there are no runners on, when there are two strikes, when they have runners in scoring position, and when there are two outs.

On Friday, the Cubs overloaded on the right side against Atlanta's Freddie Freeman, but he poked a single to left. Sveum was OK with that.

"If you're going to get beat one percent of the time, and you take away 99 percent of his hits on the ground -- [that's why you shift]," Sveum said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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