Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash defended his decision to pull Blake Snell in the sixth inning of a dominant pitching performance, a move that will be long discussed in the wake of the Rays’ World Series defeat.
Snell was cruising, striking out nine of the first 13 Dodgers hitters, including dangerous Mookie Betts and Corey Seager twice each.
The Rays were up 1-0 thanks to a Randy Arozarena home run, and Cash said he made the decision because he didn’t want Snell to face the top Dodgers hitters — Betts and Seager, for a third time in the contest.
“I felt Blake had done his job and then some,” Cash said.
But a dejected Snell said that despite statistics that show top hitters tend to get the measure of a pitcher after seeing him a couple of times in a game, he was itching to continue.
“I mean, I get it, it’s the third time through the line-up,” Snell said. “But I think I’m going to make the adjustments I need to make as I see them a third time.
“I don’t know man,” Snell added. “I just believe in me. I believe in my stuff … For most of that game, man, I was dominating every outcome possible.
“I’m proud of everything I did to put the team in a situation to win. I wanted to keep going, man. I wanted to go the whole game. I wanted to burn the tank and see how far I could go.”
Rays shortstop Kevin Kiermaier thought it was a bad decision.
“I don’t care what the numbers say,” Kiermaier said. “There weren’t many guys that were making contact, hard contact.”
To make matters worse, relief pitcher Nick Anderson couldn’t hold the lead, allowing a run for the seventh straight game in which he appeared.
“Blake was outstanding for us,” Cash said. “Looking back on it, you really wish that Nick would have been able to get through it, or we would have been able to get through it, but I’m OK with the decision.
“The difference is they outplayed us,” said Cash, as the Rays remained in search of a first World Series title.
They fell in their only prior appearance to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.
“They beat us,” Cash said. “They showed us they are better, and they are celebrating.”