Put a fork in
a light socket it, the 2020 season has come to pass after a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers — capping a 32-year World Series title drought in Chavez Ravine. They truly earned it.
Good hitters take advantage of pitcher’s mistakes, and Los Angeles proved that throughout the 2020 World Series. Tampa Bay is a good team whose bats started to go cold 1-1/2 months ago, culminating in a combined 1 R/5 H/2 BB/16 K/0-for-4 wRISP night and conclusion to the season. Good pitching defeats good hitting, and, well … the Dodgers outpitched the Rays.
Before I move on, I would like to touch on Kevin Cash’s contentious decision to pull Blake Snell from the game after 5-1/3 shutout innings. I do not think it was the right call, and I’m not certain that Cash will ever be able to convince me, Rays fans en masse, or his players, otherwise. Snell has believed in his team all season, and it’s rather depressing that his manager didn’t believe in his ability to pitch to batters a third time through the order. BUT, solely placing the blame for the loss on Cash would be rash and irrational at best. After all, the Dodgers averaged six runs per game during the regular season, didn’t win any walk-offs run until late into the truncated season, or fare as well during close games like the Rays because they consistently bludgeoned their opponents. What’s more, they hadn’t been shutout all season.
This is what happens when you pair Moneyball decision making with resources 10-times greater than that of the Rays. I digress.
Snell was pulled after having thrown 73 pitches. And true, he was pitching very well, however, at an average of almost 14 pitches per inning, he was likely to go one, maybe two more innings at best before Cash called upon The Stable, which really didn’t live up to its billing during the postseason — Ryan Thompson precluded. That is, even if Snell threw a shutout throughout an extended outing, all bets would be off once the relief corps took over. The loss ultimately rests on the shoulders of the skipper and Tampa Bay’s offense. After all, an old saying applies, “You can’t win games when you don’t score runs.” Consider that the non-Randy Arozarena part of the lineup went 3-23 with a pair of singles, two walks, and 15 punch-outs.
At the end of the day, Tampa Bay rode the pitching staff all season long, but especially in the second half when the offense began to fall off — from the 10th series on (see: the graphs above). The postseason only magnified the Rays’ offensive malaise.
It has been a long night preceded by a long day, which, itself, had been preceded by many long weeks and months. I am tired and fading fast. But, I will leave you with a few thoughts I tweeted earlier.
This year has been a dumpster fire. The pandemic and the political strife that has put all of us within a certain economic bracket in an unfortunate and uncertain position. The Rays, however, have been a bright spot over the last three months. They were the David to the Goliath’s — the Yankees and the Astros — throughout the regular season and the postseason. The 2020 Rays played like a “next man up” scrappy ball club in spite of numerous injuries and challenges. To paraphrase DeWayne Staats, while I didn’t enjoy tonight’s outcome, I truly enjoyed the ride. The Rays proved to the baseball world that they are a team that deserves to be noticed. Sure, there is some retooling that needs to be done during the winter, but as Dave Wills said during the radio-side of tonight’s broadcast, this team isn’t going anywhere. They have a young, exciting, and solid core of big-league players, and a farm system filled to the brim with talented players. And while I am sad things ended on a dour note, I’m also ecstatic that OUR small market ball-club was better than 28 other teams, and that they came within two games of defeating the best team in baseball. I believe they call that bittersweet.
I wanted to thank all of you that have followed the blog, conversed with us on social media, or both. You can expect offseason and Hot-Stove content leading into the 2021 season, among other things. Y’all are the best, thank you for all that! Also, thank you to the Tampa Bay Rays for putting together a magical season.
Pitchers and catchers report in a little over 3-1/2 months, Rays Up!
…As if this year wasn’t f****d up enough: