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Analytics Got In The Way Again

Daniel Budasoff: Latino Sports

New York: Yes the Dodgers earned their first World Series since 1988. And this World Series gave baseball fans a thrill as a global pandemic continued .Skeptics, yours truly here one of them, had doubts MLB would complete and crown a new champion.

But with winning in six games over the Rays, there comes controversy. Why was Justin Turner, tested positive for COVID and removed in the eighth inning at Globe Life Field, celebrating with teammates ? That’s a major concern that MLB must address properly.

Think of the consequences.

Because of the medical protocols a seventh and decisive game would hang in the balance until all contract tracing of players and personnel were cleared and free of COVID.

But that’s not the issue here after a truncated and 2020 MLB season. You viewed Game 6. You question Rays manager Kevin Cash and lifting Blake Snell after throwing 5-⅓ innings, allowing two hits and 73 pitches.

Think again. It was not the manager. Have we not mentioned analytics? The word is synonymous with baseball now. Analytics, once again, has changed the complexion of Major League Baseball. It has changed the way managers will make moves and during a Game 6 of the World Series.

A game that eliminated the Rays and anticipation of that seventh and decisive game, but analytics got in the way and that will continue as the game moves on next year and many after.

So if you are an enthusiast, if you thrive on baseball, anticipate what is hoped to be a normal 2021 season, well think again because analytics as we saw again Thursday night can ruin your appetite.

Under normal circumstances, Kevin Cash is not taking the ball away from Snell. He was in control, and commanded his pitches. The Dodgers saw he was untouchable. Snell, perhaps had the best game of his career until that point. Perhaps better than any game in his 2018 AL CY Young Award season.

But that word analytics. Numbers that the Rays and all of the other 29 teams use, again that got in the way of managing. And despite what Cash said, that Snell was going through the Dodgers’ lineup a third time and pitching to Mookie Betts and others, you can’t buy that explanation.

Nick Anderson, the Rays’ reliable reliever, considered a top three in the game, was a wrong analytical move. Social media reaction was harsh. The analysts including Alex Rodriquez and Harold Reynolds were irate.

Fans were irate at the manager, but they are not in the know. Baseball higher ups did not want you to know that it was analytics and once again scripting the game of baseball during a pivotal World Series game.

You see it was analytics. Managers are being told what to do before a game. The reports don’t come from advanced scouting and any used are minimal. The Rays are analytical and tend to not let a starter go past five innings.

Also, last October, the Nationals depended on analytics often and won a World Series that was not about scouting reports. They also used numbers from the mathematical wizards that know nothing about baseball.

“Dodgers chances of winning went from 10 % to 80% and cost the Rays the series,” said William Coppola, our Latino Sports columnist and former advanced scout who assisted the late Tom Giordano with the Rangers and Braves.

He said, “We knew the Rays would do this. 5.1 innings, two hits, no walks, 9 strikeouts, 73 pitches. Little Leaguers throw more pitches than that in six innings.”

Go back to 2015. Matt Harvey and the Mets came up short and the Kansas City Royals won it all. Terry Collins, then the manager, stayed with Harvey and a high pitch count. Analytics did not interfere with the manager.

However, a former and recent MLB manager said to yours truly more than one time, “ I have no control. The lineup is on my desk before I get to the ballpark. The game had to be managed with a script. It is out of control.”

But the manager has no control of situations. Kevin Cash had no control, despite what he said about the situation and Snell having to face the Dodgers lineup a third time around.

The issue is analytics and how the owners have bought into the system. It stinks and it’s not baseball. Last night and Game 6 was not baseball.

It was numbers and not managing as baseball should be. It was not baseball and may have prevented that Game 7 drama.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso Watch Sports With Rich YouTube. Like, comment, and subscribe.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Julio Pabón

    October 29, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Excellent article. I agree with you 100% and so do thousands of baseball fans, especially, Tampa Bay Rays fans.

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