Did we just see baseball’s version of Pete Carroll not giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the goal line?
The Tampa Bay Rays’ bold move to take out ace Blake Snell in the sixth inning of World Series Game 6 immediately backfired, as the Dodgers took the lead and ultimately eliminated the Rays with a 3-1 win, securing their first World Series title since 1988.
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Snell had been cruising against the Dodgers, who lead the series 3-2 coming into Game 6. Before giving up his second hit of the night, Snell had struck out nine Dodgers hitters and carried a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers hadn’t been able to get anything going against the 2018 AL Cy Young winner. But when Austin Barnes got that sixth inning hit, Rays manager Kevin Cash went to his bullpen. It was a surprising move the way Snell was pitching, but was also in line with the Rays’ usual moves — rarely do their starters see a lineup the third time through.
Cash stuck to the gameplan, but immediately wished he hadn’t. With Barnes on first, Mookie Betts hit a double to put runners at second and third with one out. With the pressure on reliever Nick Anderson, he uncorked a wild pitch and Barnes scored. Corey Seager followed with a grounder to first base, but Betts got a great jump off third base and beat the throw home.
Six pitches after Snell was pulled, the Dodgers had a 2-1 lead.
How the Dodgers took the lead in Game 6pic.twitter.com/NcC9fyzqTn
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) October 28, 2020
After the game, Cash said he believed the thought process was right even though the outcome wasn’t what he had hoped. Snell, meanwhile, said he had been dominating the Dodgers.
Cash asked if he regretted the decision: "I guess I regret it because it didn't work out. I feel like the thought process was right."
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) October 28, 2020
Blake Snell says he's not pointing any fingers, but, "For most of that game, I was dominating every outcome possible.''
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 28, 2020
MLB players react to the Rays decision
It wasn’t just fans on Twitter second-guessing Cash’s decision there. A chorus of MLB players had the same reaction — most of them pitchers.
You manage a baseball game with your EYES, HEART, & GUT as well as your BRAIN. You can't make a decision on when you to pull a pitcher of Snell's calibur before he throws his 1st pitch. Have a game plan, yes. Then manage in-game.
— Jerry Blevins (@jerryblevins) October 28, 2020
Maybe some good will come of this flawed World Series and cause some of the analytics and strategies to get a once over
Dude has a 9k-2 hit shutout, with 75 pitches??? And u yank him?? Fire me......I’m riding my horse! Now 2-1 Dodgers.....
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) October 28, 2020
I still can't get over it. Worst decision I've seen in all of the #WorldSeries I've watched.
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) October 28, 2020
Pulling Snell there is worthy of losing a World Series. There isn’t a single analytical number that says pull Snell there.
Now that the Dodgers have won, we’ll have months to second guess Cash’s decision and wonder what would have happened had Snell stayed in.
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