It was the hardest decision of the 2020 season for Cash, but pulling Snell may have cost the Rays a chance at a Game 7. Rays lose a heartbreaker to the Dodgers 3-1 and they lose the World Series four games to two.
Gut-wrenching. Heartbreaking. Head-scratching.
These are just a few of the emotions that are running through all of our heads. In Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 and lost the series four games to two.
I intentionally waited 12 hours to continue to write this article because I didn’t want to be a prisoner of the moment like social media is. I didn’t want to let my emotions at the time — or the Jack Daniels — take over and cloud my judgment. I wanted to sleep on it — wake up with a new fresh mind — and proceed with this and see how my views have changed.
And did they ever.
Randy’s 10th HR
In the first inning fo Game 6 the hottest hitter on the planet delivered again, this time a solo home run to right field. Randy Arozarena has now extended his single postseason homer record to ten. Two more than any player in MLB history.
Snell lights out again
Pitching in the biggest game of his life with his team’s back against the wall, Blake Snell came out firing. He had all four pitches working. He completely shut down the top of the Dodgers lineup as Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner went a combined 0-6 with 6 K against Snell.
69 (nioceee) pitches for Snell through 5 innings. I don’t care, you leave him in as long as he tells you he's good to go. I don’t care the matchup. Let your horse work! $Rays
— Eric Evans (@EvansEric10) October 28, 2020
I wish Twitter had an edit button as the Jack and anxiety caused a typo, but whatever. After the fifth inning, I tweeted that. It was arguably the best stuff Snell has had since, well Game 2. But in Game 6, it was.. different. Saying he was locked in doesn’t do it justice. CYzilla was back.
Snell came out to start the sixth inning with 69 pitches. He had allowed one hit up until then while recording nine punch outs.
A one-out single to Austin Barnes, the second hit for the Dodgers on the evening, and Cash had to make the hardest decision of his managing life with the top of the Dodgers lineup coming up to face Snell for a third time.
“The only motive was that the lineup the Dodgers feature is as potent as any team in the league,” Cash said when asked about the decision to remove Snell. “Personally, I felt Blake had done his job and then some.”
Analytics vs the world
We all know the Rays are a very analytical run organization. And over the course of a large sample size, analytics have proven to work out more than they have failed. The Rays have proved this for years. It is literal data that has been proven to be factually correct more than incorrect. The data shows that when a pitcher faces a hitter for a third time — advantage hitter. Over a course of 162 games — or even 60 games — the data is factually correct.
I say all that to this — in one game that is win or go home, you have to disregard the data of large sample sizes and just trust your baseball instinct. As mentioned earlier, the top three hitters for the Dodgers were 0-6 with 6 K against Snell.
“I was definitely disappointed. Upset,” Snell replied when asked about being removed so early. “I just want the ball. I felt good. I did everything I could to prove my case to stay out there.”
I’m aware that in Game 2 Snell was dominant and allowed a two-run homer to Chris Taylor. I get that scenario is going through Cash’s head. As it should. And I know Cash isn’t worried about the blame game and if it was Snell that gave up that double to Betts, no one would have blamed him for leaving his ace in one too many batters. He’s trying to win a World Series, not appease Twitter. But tonight was different, and as good as Nick Anderson has been with the Rays, he’s struggled enough recently that if you’re going to lose this game, you let your horse work until he can’t anymore.
Snell’s final line tonight was 5.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 9 strikeouts on 73 pitches.
One run not enough
Regardless of which side you choose on whether or not Cash should have left Snell in or not, one run most likely wasn’t going to get the job done anyway. For as good as Blake Snell was tonight, the Dodgers bullpen was just as good.
The Rays jumped on Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin early making him work as he threw 48 pitches in his 1.2 innings of work. Including the solo homer to Arozarena in the first.
The six-headed Dodgers bullpen went on to toss 7.1 scoreless inning allowing just two hits. They also struck out 12 Rays hitters. Not ideal in a do or die game.
We get ready for Spring Training which is about 109 days away!
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