Kevin Cash joins A.J. Hinch in bad World Series decisions originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The decision from Houston Astros skipper A.J. Hinch to remove Zack Greinke in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series was one of the most scrutinized moves from a manager in recent memory.
After Tuesday, that may not be the case anymore.
In Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash elected to remove starter Blake Snell after five and a third innings, despite allowing just two hits. The move backfired, as the Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom half off reliever Nick Anderson to take the lead in the closeout game for Los Angeles. A Mookie Betts home run in the eighth inning would extend the Dodgers' lead to 3-1, and a few moments later, Los Angeles would take home the Commissioner's Trophy for the first time since 1988.
For Astros fans watching, Cash's decision was eerily similar to the one from Hinch last year.
With the Astros leading the Washington Nationals 2-1 in the seventh inning of Game 7 of the 2019 fall classic, Hinch made the decision to pull starter Zach Greinke in favor of reliever Will Harris. At the time, Greinke had allowed just two hits through 6.1 innings pitched.
The first batter Harris faced was Howie Kendrick, who hit a two-run home run off the right-field foul pole to give Washington a 3-2 lead. The Nationals would add three more runs off the Astros bullpen over the final two innings, winning the decisive game 6-2 for their first title in franchise history.
It's worth noting that both the Astros and Rays rely on analytics a lot more than most clubs. The numbers back up the decisions from Cash and Hinch, but the choice to move to the bullpen didn't pay off for either team on the sport's biggest stage.
Analytics have dominated baseball over the past several years. But if these two moves prove anything, no numbers can predict the outcome of playoff baseball.