Too much chess

When major league baseball teams get to the World Series, after a game or two their managers buy into the dopey narrative that "now it's a chess game." Since they have a bullpen full of pitchers and only a few games left, they can rotate hurlers in and out in unusual ways to match the situation. When you get to Game 6 or 7, they can go nuts and insert any pitcher any time.

Quite often, that's an invitation to disaster, and while it worked for the Dodgers tonight, it failed miserably for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays had a pitcher named Blake Snell going really strong, but the minute the Dodgers got a baserunner on in the sixth inning, the manager, Kevin Cash, had to go all Kasparov. He brought in a goofball bullpen guy who promptly gave up a double, and then threw a wild pitch, and the next thing you know, the Dodgers scored their second run on a ground ball. It was the last run they needed. They won the game 3 to 1 and clinched the series.

Snell had another good inning in him, maybe two. But he was yanked because chess game. He wasn't happy about it. Rightly not.

Cash is being castigated for his blunder, but they all do it. This almost happened to the Cubs the year they won it all. Their manager, old Joe What's-His-Name, pulled the same "chess game" stunt and almost lost. He got away with it. The Rays guy didn't.

I'm happy for the Dodgers, who were overdue for World Series success. But I'm disappointed that the last game was lost this way. Go with what got you here. Stop listening to the pundits. Leave the chess to the computers and the Russian guys.


  1. It's even heavier because if the Rays forced a Game 7 the Dodgers Justin Turner would have missed it. He got yanked out of tonight's game in the 8th when some followup tests arrived and he had tested positive for the virus. How 2020 is that?

  2. While I’ve been a diehard Dodger fan since the 1950s, Sabremetrics is complete nonsense in situations like last night. It removes the requirement for managers to think, go with their gut, and make foolish decisions like Cash made last night. It seems that Dave Roberts followed his gut to leave Julio Urias in the game when he was pitching nearly perfect baseball, while Cash followed an algorithm and pulled Snell when he was pitching in top form. It was a dumb move on Cash’s part, and he deserved to pay for it. Snell was tying the Dodgers in knots while he was pitching, and the one hit was hardly a reason to pull him out. I’m happy the Dodgers won; I’m sorry that JT was diagnosed with Covid.

    1. I don't think you can lay this failure at the feet of "Sabremetrics." It was just good, old-fashioned, overthinking, or overmanaging, if you like. The metrics say loud and clear that you don't match a hard-throwing righty against Mookie. If anything, the modern analytics were vindicated by the outcome.


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