BRISTOL – Two words: Sabermetrics and postseason. Putting them together I bet more than 95% of you instantly go back to Game 6 of the 2020 World Series when Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, winning 1-0 in the sixth inning, walked to the mound with the decision made to remove his opener Blake snell, a Cy Young Award winner, winning the game 1-0, with just two hits allowed in 5 1/3 innings.
Snell had only allowed his second hits, had 9 strikeouts and looked huge on the mound. It was time to pitch with a runner at first base, a common situation for a pitcher of his stature.
Cash took him out of the game before the eyes of the world. He brought in reliever Nick Anderson to meet Mookie betts, whom Snell had already struck out a couple of times. The result? Betts double, the Dodgers tied the game. Anderson throws a wild pitch, Betts advance and Corey seager hits a sacrifice fly for Betts to score. So be quick the Dodgers turn the score 2-1. The Rays could not come back and after the 27th out, the Dodgers are the World Series champions.
How on the planet could this happen? How do you get your best pitcher out at the best time? Where has baseball gone? The answer is in the numbers and the odds. Analytics have determined that when a starter has already flipped the opposing lineup twice, there is a high probability that batters will make the necessary adjustment to attack in their respective third innings. Remember how Dave Roberts did the exact same thing in the 2017 World Series with Rich hill against the Astros in games 2 and 6? In both cases, Hill had the game under control, but in the fifth inning, he was simply sent to the showers. Both games were lost by the Dodgers. In 2018 Roberts made the same moves with Hill and with the Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu.
How to understand modern baseball? How to understand the decisions of the managers in the postseason?