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Rays’ Kevin Cash: I Pulled Blake Snell to Avoid Him Facing Mookie Betts Again

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Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash wears a mask as he walks back to the dugout after a pitching change during the eighth inning in Game 4 of a baseball American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in San Diego. The Yankees won 5-1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The biggest moment of Tuesday’s Game 6 of the World Series was when Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash walked up the dugout steps to remove starting pitcher Blake Snell in the sixth inning, even though he had yet to allow a run and threw just 73 pitches.

The rest was history, as the Los Angeles Dodgers pushed two runs across with reliever Nick Anderson on the mound thanks largely to a Mookie Betts double. 

“I didn’t want Mookie seeing Blake a third time,” Cash said when explaining his decision, per Gabe Lacques of USA Today.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times noted Cash said he regrets making that call because of the results but not the process.

After the loss, Snell said he “wanted to be the one who won or lost that game,” but he pointed out Cash is “usually right” when he makes those decisions, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

While the southpaw, who did not pitch past the sixth inning in any of his starts this year, was far more understanding in those comments, he was not happy about being taken out in the moment:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

When you get pulled and your team gives up a run

(via @MLBONFOX)
https://t.co/cFBg81fMko

It’s not as if Snell is a mediocre player who was pitching over his head either. He won the 2018 American League Cy Young award and ERA title and is an anchor for Tampa Bay’s rotation. He was dialed in from the start of Tuesday’s contest and allowed just two hits while striking out nine.

“I don’t care what the numbers say,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said, per Josh Tolentino of The Athletic. “That was Blake’s game. That might’ve been the best I’ve seen him. That was incredible … It was Blake’s game to lose. I had a great seat in center field.”

The decision to go with Anderson also sticks out, as he set a record no pitcher wants by allowing another run in the loss:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Nick Anderson has allowed a run in 7 straight relief appearances, the longest streak in MLB postseason history. https://t.co/3CW3YlJTGV

It was a disastrous showing from Anderson, who immediately gave up a double to Betts to put runners on second and third, threw a wild pitch to bring in the tying run and then gave up a fielder’s choice on a grounder by Corey Seager to relinquish the lead for good.

Cash’s decision will go down in Major League Baseball’s history books as one of its most infamous, and fans will surely debate the merits of it for years to come.       

Unfortunately for the Rays, it did not work out as the manager planned.       

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