AJ Hinch blew the World Series by taking out Zack Greinke
The Houston Astros had an ace on the mound who was cruising and pitching one of the most defining games of his life, and their quest for a championship was spoiled by an overzealous and unnecessary pitching change by manager A.J. Hinch.
Zack Greinke showed up with his best form in Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday night. He was mixing up his pitches, had the Washington Nationals completely off balance, and was dealing. He had a shutout going until the seventh inning, when he allowed a solo home run to the incredible Anthony Rendon. Then he walked Juan Soto — one of the Nats’ best hitters.
Giving up a home run and walk to those two excellent hitters isn’t great, but is almost somewhat expected for any pitcher facing them. Greinke had only thrown 80 pitches and was mowing through Washington otherwise. But Hinch decided to yank his starter in favor of Will Harris rather than let Greinke continue. The move backfired.
The next batter was Howie Kendrick, who gave the Nats their first lead of the game with a 2-run home run. Washington did not look back — they added another run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to win it 6-2.
The kind of game Greinke was delivering is what you dream of as a manager and pitcher in a Game 7. Greinke was in top form. Giving up a home run and walk to two of the best players in the postseason is not a sign your pitcher is losing it. It was too early to say that. Given how great he was going and how few pitches he had thrown, Hinch should have let Greinke face one more batter. If the ace gave up an extra base hit, then I would have pulled him, but after having difficulty with two tough batters, it was too early to say he had lost it.
And before you tell me it’s easy to say all this in hindsight, I actually said it before the home run by Kendrick.
A home run and a walk in the 7th and they take Zack Greinke out after just 80 pitches with a 2-1 lead. I would have left him in. What about you?
— Larry Brown (@LBSports) October 31, 2019
Hinch blew the World Series with the pitching change, it’s that simple. The Nats earned the win, but got some major help.
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