2020 World Series: Mookie Betts, Dodgers Relieved Once Kevin Cash Removed Blake Snell

Just one win away from the franchise winning their first World Series since 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup was being overpowered by Tampa Bay Rays Blake Snell.

Provided an early lead by Randy Arozrena’s solo home run, Snell struck out the side in the first inning. He fanned two more in the second, got Mookie Betts swinging in the third, and again struck out the side in the fourth.

Snell allowed just one hit through five innings and was upholding the Rays’ 1-0 lead. To that point, Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner were a combined 0-for-6 with six strikeouts. “He was tough all night,” Seager said. “You tip your cap to him, man. He threw a helluva ballgame.

Snell’s 73rd pitch on the night was lined into center field by Austin Barnes for a one-out single in sixth inning.

Rays manager Kevin Cash emerged from the dugout and summoned Nick Anderson into the game without any hesitation. The curious decision wound up sparking the Dodgers to a 3-1 comeback win. Betts doubled, Barnes scored on a wild pitch, and Seager drove in Betts.

“I was pretty happy, because he was dominating us and we just weren’t seeing him,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his reaction to Snell being removed. “Once Austin got that hit and they went to the ‘pen, Mookie looked at me with a little smile.

“We were just all kind of excited that Snell was out of the game.”

Betts not only scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, he provided insurance with a solo home run off Pete Fairbanks in the eighth. “It was kind of like a sigh of relief,” Betts said of seeing Snell get the hook.

“Had he stayed in that game he may have pitched a complete game. I don’t know exactly what would’ve happened, but he was rolling. He was pitching really, really well. That was the Cy Young Snell that came tonight.

“Once he came out of the game it was a breath of fresh air. We’d had some pretty decent at-bats off their bullpen guys, so we figured we could scratch one across since we saw the bullpen guys a little better. Snell, got to tip your cap. He did amazing.”

Friedman understanding of Rays’ decision

The World Series matchup carried added meaning for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman as he was matched up against the former team he once led into the postseason.

While acknowledging the Dodgers clearly benefited from the Rays going into their bullpen, Friedman defended Cash.

“Those guys obviously have managed their starters that way throughout the year and it was good enough to get them to Game 6 of the World Series,” he said. “In that moment, watching the game, we were certainly happy that he did.

“Obviously they have their reasons for what they do, and they’re really good at what they do. From out standpoint, I think our hitters got a real jolt from that. Who knows how the game plays out if he stays in the game. It’s something we’ll never know.”

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