That Decision to Pull Snell, Aesthetically Pleasing Baseball, Prior Gets His Ring, and Other Cubs Bullets

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That Decision to Pull Snell, Aesthetically Pleasing Baseball, Prior Gets His Ring, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Like an old fart, I nodded off for about 15 minutes at a weird angle last night in a chair watching the World Series, and apparently that was just long enough to create a terrible crick in my neck.

•   Aside from the COVID-19 Justin Turner stuff and the Dodgers finally winning one stuff, the big conversation piece from Game 6 of the World Series was Kevin Cash’s decision to pull Blake Snell after allowing a hit in the 6th inning last night, and turn the ball over to the team’s best regular season reliever (who’d allowed runs in six straight postseason appearances). Snell was at just 73 pitches, and was owning the Dodgers. Nick Anderson proceeded to allow a double, throw a wild pitch, and then a run-scoring grounder, and that was that. The Rays’ lead was gone, the Dodgers would go on to win it all, and Cash’s deployment of the Rays’ hyper-analytical pitching approach was under the microscope.

•   To be sure, the data were on Cash’s side about pulling Snell, who’d gone short outings all year, and whose results for his career drop precipitously the second and third time he faces batters in a game. But the eye test … the guy was just dominating. The Dodgers could do nothing. Maybe he would’ve blown it anyway, and I understand this is why you have data-supported processes in place. But I think Kevin Youkilis sums up the dilemma right here:

•   The Rays have had a formula that, in the aggregate, has worked well for them all year (several years, really). It’s hard, in that light, to fault Cash for simply sticking to what they always do. And obviously, if it works out, we don’t spend this much time talking about it. But like Youkilis points out, managing – like organization-building and scouting and developing – is not ALL paint-by-numbers. And when a decision doesn’t work out, we at least have to consider the possibility that it was the wrong decision, even if it matched previous decisions that worked out. In other words, being process-oriented is a heckuva lot better than being results-oriented in the long-run, but why be slavishly devoted to any one approach? Flexibility is even better … you just have to be good at it.

•   Can I add that a manager having a little more flexibility in a moment like that – more subjective decision making – is more aesthetically pleasing, too? Like, seeing Snell have a chance to keep going (especially since I’m not a Rays fan or a Dodgers fan) would’ve been a heckuva lot more fun to watch as a baseball fan. This sport is ultimately supposed to be entertainment, right?

•   For his part, Snell obviously wanted to keep going, and clearly didn’t fell the pull was justified given how he was performing and how ready he was for the third time through:

•   Meanwhile, the Dodgers were thrilled that Snell got pulled, and it was Mookie Betts who was the first batter to face Anderson. He doubled:

•   It’s weird now to be in a world where the dominating Dodgers of the last decade have finally won a World Series. I wonder how it will impact them next year, or even this offseason. Everyone says they are going to push just as hard to win the next one, or the organization will push just as hard to make it happen, but it feels like there’s a reason we haven’t seen a repeat champion since the Yankees 20 years ago. From a roster standpoint, the Dodgers figure to be very, very good again next year. But a lot of very, very good teams haven’t repeated.

•   Great Deals of the Day at Amazon today, from classic games to electric toothbrushes to shavers to appliances to Vera Bradley bags … it’s a lot today. #ad

•   More craziness from Randy Arozarena in a losing effort:

•   This is going to be universal in baseball this month, as previous furloughs become permanent, and new decisions are made at the end of employment contracts that ran through October:

•   The Cubs’ layoffs got a lot of attention because they are the Cubs – and I think it’s appropriate to spotlight what is happening in the sport – but this is going to be every team, and it really stings. I think everyone just hoped they could punt on these things in the hopes that the state of the pandemic would look a lot better come October. It doesn’t.

•   Runs Boted In:

•   Wrigley Field was Halloween decked out last night for some reason:

•   Mark Prior, now the Dodgers’ pitching coach, got himself a ring:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.