World Series Game 6: Rays decision to pull Blake Snell immediately backfires

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.

 Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after giving up a hit in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Rays starter Blake Snell had been dominating World Series Game 6. But manager Kevin Cash pulled him and the Dodgers immediately took over. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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.

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.

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.

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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