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#pounditMonday, October 26, 2020

Kevin Cash stands by decision to pull Blake Snell from Game 6

Blake Snell

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash made the controversial decision to remove Blake Snell from Game 6 of the ALCS with a lead, and ended up paying the price.

Snell got through four innings, allowing three hits and four walks with four strikeouts on 82 pitches. After Snell allowed a walk and a single to open the 5th with the Rays nursing a 1-0 lead, Cash made the move to pull his starter and bring in standout reliever Diego Castillo. Snell was visibly upset when Cash came to get him, but the manager’s mind was made up.

Castillo had been excellent in the postseason, but was unable to hold the Astros. After a sacrifice bunt, George Springer singled through the shift, giving the Astros a 2-1 lead. RBI hits later in the inning by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa expanded that lead to 4-1, and the Astros ultimately went on to win 7-4.

Cash was questioned for pulling Snell, a former Cy Young winner. After the game, he stood by the decision, saying he felt Snell was out of gas.

The questions will keep being asked. There’s no guarantee Snell gets out of the inning unscathed, but he clearly felt he had more to offer when he was pulled.

The move is even more controversial because of the comparison to how Astros manager Dusty Baker has handled his starters. In a similar situation in Game 4 with two on, one out, and a two-run lead, Baker stuck with starter Zack Greinke. Greinke got out of the jam and made clear that he was pleased that Baker had left him in. Cash didn’t have the same faith in Snell, and if the Rays lose Game 7, expect a lot more second-guessing as to whether he should have.

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