Oct 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) is taken out of the game during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgersduring game six of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell was cruising in Game 6 of the World Series, with his team in need of a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers to force a Game 7. Snell entered the bottom of the sixth with the Rays leading 1-0. He had allowed zero runs, one hit, and zero walks, while striking out nine. The first Dodgers batter of the sixth inning, AJ Pollock, popped out. The next batter, Austin Barnes, singled to center field.

And then Snell was taken out of the game, at 73 pitches. This is the kind of thing manager Kevin Cash and the Rays have done all season, mixing up matchups, relying on their bullpen frequently, preventing starters from facing a lineup the third time through, etc. This is an organization that has relied heavily on analytics, and with remarkable success.

But this was the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner dominating in a must-win game, with seemingly plenty left in the tank, and with no game to save him for. There’s a point where feel and what the eyes tell you outweigh your traditional pitching usage and the spreadsheet.  It’s hard to buy that the Rays’ relievers gave the team a better chance than Snell for *at least* the rest of the sixth inning.

Well, Nick Anderson came out of the bullpen to face Mookie Betts, who Snell had struck out in both of the previous plate appearances. Anderson fell behind 2-0, and Betts then ripped a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out.

Two pitches later, Anderson threw a wild pitch, allowing the tying run to score and the go-ahead run to advance to third.


And on the pitch after that, Seager hit a groundball that scored Mookie Betts to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

So, just two batters after Snell was pulled from his brilliant performance, the Rays trailed 2-1.

If the Rays are unable to come back in this game, Cash is going to get a lot of blame for the season-ending loss. It will go down as possibly the most questioned decision in World Series history.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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