Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said he regretted the outcome more than the decision to pull starter Blake Snell while the left-hander was still at the top of his game after 5⅓ scoreless innings in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday.
“I regret the decision because it didn’t work out,” Cash said after the Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up their seventh World Series title with a 3-1 win. “But you know, I feel like the thought process was right. … If we had to do it over again, I would have the utmost confidence in Nick Anderson to get through that inning.”
With the Rays leading 1-0, Snell was throwing arguably his best game of the season. He had struck out nine Dodgers hitters while giving up two hits.
To the dismay of many, Snell’s second hit allowed — to No. 9 hitter Austin Barnes, with one out in the sixth — brought Cash to the mound. Cash opted for Anderson, who promptly gave up a double, a game-tying wild pitch and an RBI groundout, putting the Rays behind in the game for the first time, 2-1.
“I am definitely disappointed and upset,” Snell said. “I just want the ball. I felt good. I did everything I could to prove my case to stay out there, and then for us to lose, it sucks. I want to win, and I want to win the World Series, and for us to lose, it just sucks.
“I am not going to question him. He’s a helluva manager, so I am not going to question him. And I can only look forward to what I am going to accomplish this offseason. But we came up short, and the only thing I can focus on is what I can be better at next year.”
Cash said the decision to pull Snell was made because leadoff hitter Mookie Betts was coming up again, and Cash wanted to avoid having Snell go through the lineup a third time. The next three hitters Snell was due to face — Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner — were 0-for-6 with six strikeouts against him Tuesday.
“The only motive was that the lineup the Dodgers feature is as potent as any in the league,” Cash said. “Personally, I felt Blake had done his job and then some. Mookie coming around the third time through … I value that.
“I totally respect and understand the questions that come with it. Blake gave us every opportunity to win. He was outstanding. They’re not easy decisions. … Didn’t want Mookie or Seager seeing Blake a third time. There was no set plan. As much as people think, there’s no set plan.”
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