somewhere Kevin Cash he probably kicked himself on Friday night and thought about it: That is what is supposed to happen.
The third match of this year’s World Series looked very similar after all Sixth game of last year’s edition.
The Atlanta Braves, like Cash’s Tampa Bay Rays team, led by one run. Similar Rays as Blake Snell the year before, Braves rookie Ian Anderson was excellent in early substitutions and didn’t score Houston Astros in the first five shifts.
And just like last year, the Braves made a high-stakes decision that was probably backed up by numbers – even though it wasn’t the best for the game’s product.
At the end of the fifth and with the top of the Astros lineup, expected to be third in sixth, manager Brian Snitker shook Anderson’s hand in the bathing area and turned early to his container, betting on an analytically modern approach that says: a fresh hand is usually more effective than even the hottest starting pitcher.
For Cash and the Rays, of course, the move reversed. When Snell reluctantly left last October’s game, the Dodgers came to life and scored three runs with Rice’s relievers on the hill, thus winning their first World Series in 32 years.
But in this year’s potentially crucial swing game of the series, Braves ’gambler paid off on Friday. They didn’t run a combined unconditional, but their bulpen paved the way for the win as Astros ended up with four unsuccessful substitutions in the final 2-0 win.
The Braves are leading a series of two games against one, halfway to their first championship in 26 years.
As Snitker expected, Anderson initially lobbied to return to the hill in the sixth, especially after throwing just 76 pitches.
“It was like,‘ Are you sure? ’,” Snitker recalled after the game. “But I said to myself, ‘Ian, I’m going here with my gut.'”
Snitker later explained, “I think it could be reversed. But at the time, I thought he had done his job in a game of this magnitude. And we had a bulpen that all the guys we used had two days off. “
Just like last year, Sniker’s move sparked a wave of debate on social media about what’s best for baseball:
A seemingly sarcastic, unsentimental style in which every last ounce of the list is optimized with all the charm of an orange going through an industrial juicer? Or a more nostalgic version of the game, where fans have to work in depth, grind through fatigue, and decide the outcome for better or worse?
The latter is perhaps more emotionally compelling, more appealing to a wider audience of fans.
But teams are becoming more effective at first.
Even the presence of an old school like Snitker, a 66-year-old former minor league coach who has spent his entire career in the Braves organization, watched Friday’s game through that lens.
“I, who was old, would probably have said a few years ago,‘ Why the hell am I doing this? ’” Snitker said. “But he won’t hit without a hit himself. If that happened, he’d be combined without a hit.”
AJ Minter and Luke Jackson maintained a no-no in seven substitutions, the deepest the team put into a World Series match since 1967, before the Astros finally broke up when Aledmys Díaz scored against Tyler Matzek in the eighth.
But then Matzek responded and withdrew the next three in a row to hit runner-up Jose Siri in third place after advancing due to a stolen base and a mistake.
After Travis d’Arnaud doubled Atlanta’s lead with a solo Homer in the eighth, closer Will Smith slammed the door in the ninth, ensuring the Braves ’first home game of the World Series since 1999 ended in closure.
The decision to withdraw Anderson, however, resonated the most later – in the context of Friday’s result, compared to last year’s autumn classic, and in a broader existential conversation about the sport.
Snitker admitted that when he stands on the top rail of the dugout, there is no room in his head for historical significance or entertainment value.
“I have to win a baseball game,” he said.
Anderson did not publicly question the decision either.
“Obviously you want opportunities to compete, especially on such the biggest stage,” he said before adding later, “But I think when you have a chance to get to those guys in the back, you can’t hesitate.”
Matzek said Braves wasn’t even aware at first that Astros hadn’t scored yet.
“Luke Jackson didn’t know, Minter didn’t know,” Matzek said, laughing. “When I finished my inning, they said, ‘Did you know you missed the first goal?’ Yeah, I knew it. I was careful. “
Then Matzek, like the rest of his teammates, supported the decisive decision of the evening.
“There’s a reason for that,” he said. “Guys, representative service, Snit, we’ve all gone over what the game’s scenario is a few times so we can win. Obviously the game script is real. We had a great, tough match and we came in first. I don’t even guess that. “
There were other factors that made this move easier to justify.
Anderson’s command was a spotty, “actually wild” approach all night, according to Astros manager Dusty Baker, who kept the Houston players out of balance all night and also led to three walks and punches after the game, but also
During the regular season, Anderson’s stats, when he faced the lineup for the third time or when he exceeded 75 pitches, both were noticeably worse also from its average.
The last part of the Braves fighters was also dominant all season, as he eliminated only one advantage in the late game in his three rounds of the playoffs.
All in all, it contributed to a decision that tested the existential nature of the game, raising questions about what things the sport should appreciate, while driving the Braves to a potential win that would change the series, and putting them in the driver’s seat before Saturday match. 4.
Last year, Cash became a warning story.
On Friday, Snitker was rewarded for a decision for which even Anderson was willing to stand out.
“[When] you have guys like Matzek and Minter and Luke and Will on the back, you can’t blame him for going to these guys, ”Anderson said. “Those guys, time and time, do, and they did it again tonight.”