Tampa Bay Rays: Takeaways from World Series Defeat in Game 6

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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell walks off the field

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) walks off the field after he pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning in game six of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays failed to win Game 6 and the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series for the first time since 1988.

A 3-1 defeat in Game 6 saw the Tampa Bay Rays’ chance of extending the series disappear. The game itself will be remembered, firstly, for manager Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell despite the starting pitcher dominating the Dodgers’ offense.

Also, news of Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner being removed from the game in the eighth inning due to a positive COVID-19 test gave the series a 2020-style denouement.

Cash will be explaining his reasoning for sticking to his well-tested plan of protecting pitchers from a third cycle of batters for a while. Some on social media, and other more experienced voices, are expressing that his move has cost the Rays the World Series.

Mookie Betts was quick to point out, in his postgame interview, that this moment was the time that Dodgers felt they could exploit. Comments such as that won’t help the Rays manager’s justification of the tried, tested and regularly success plan when Snell was pitching so well.

Here are some takeaways from the World Series:

Created plenty of opportunities in Game 6 and failed to capitalise

The Rays had a great start to Game 6 and had chances to add to Randy Arozarena‘s home run in the first inning, extending his rookie record. Tony Gonsolin was soon seen off, but the hits dried up. Having resorted to their bullpen early, the Dodgers relief pitchers were on their game.

In both the first and second inning, the Rays left batters on first and second base. Both needed to be converted to heap pressure on the Dodgers. However, runs weren’t forthcoming and the Dodgers were only 1-0 behind despite being outplayed early.

It has been the story of the last two games; Rays start fast then run out of steam. They had plenty of hits against Clayton Kershaw and Gonsolin but couldn’t turn them into runs. Also, there were too many Rays hitters who looked like they couldn’t get the ball to the infield. You can’t do that and expect to win. There is plenty of work to be done in the off-season for batters like Willy Adames. It was almost no accident that Adames was the last out; his woes were symptomatic of the Rays’ problems.

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