Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash explained his highly scrutinized decision to remove ace Blake Snell from Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday after the left-hander allowed only two hits over 5 1/3 innings.
"The only motive was that the lineup the Dodgers feature is as potent as any in the league," Cash said, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. "Personally, I felt Blake had done his job and then some. Mookie (Betts) coming around the third time. I totally value and respect the questions that come with it."
Snell had struck Betts out both times he faced him in the game, but he was lifted before getting the chance to pitch to the outfielder a third time.
Instead of riding the hot hand with a runner on - Snell tallied nine strikeouts and no walks on 73 pitches - Cash turned to usual closer Nick Anderson. Betts hit a double and two runs eventually scored in the inning.
"I guess I regret it because it didn't work out. The thought process was right," Cash said, according to Juan Toribio of MLB.com. "If we had to do it over again, I would have the utmost confidence in Nick Anderson to get through that inning."
Anderson owned a 0.55 ERA and 0.49 WHIP over 16 1/3 regular-season innings. However, entering Tuesday's game, he had allowed six earned runs over seven frames between the ALCS and World Series.
If Snell had his way, he would have stayed in the game. The southpaw felt he was pitching better than he had in a long time.
"I did everything I could have done to stay in that game and, you know, go as long as I could've," Snell said.
"I get it, it's the third time through the lineup, but I think I'm gonna make the adjustments I need to make as I see them a third time. I don't know, man, I just believe in me. I believe in my stuff, I believe in what I was doing."
Despite his disappointment, Snell wasn't casting blame at his manager's feet.
"He's usually right," Snell said, per Toribio. "There's no pointing fingers. I'm a competitor, he's a competitor."
Dodgers hitters were certainly happy to see him leave.
Snell's teammates, on the other hand, felt he should have stayed on the mound.