Kevin Cash defended his decision to yank his Game 6 starting pitcher Blake Snell, but to me it just displayed what a contrast there is between the way the game was once played and the game’s strategy nowadays. For example, in the final game of the 1964 World Series , Bob Gibson faced a critical spot. Many managers would’ve pulled him for reliever, but his manager, Johnny Keane, stuck with him and a visibly fatigued Gibson did indeed get out of the ninth inning jam to win the game. After the game the manager was asked why he had stuck with Gibson and he replied, “I had a commitment to his heart.” In other words he trusted his starter and his reputation.
That way of thinking has disappeared—and I understand that to some extent, but Snell had a great pitching line going for him on the night. In addition, he was about to face the top of the lineup if Cash had stuck with him, and Snell had held those guys to 0-for-6 with six strikeouts.
I would have trusted my ace, a Cy Young winner who was in a groove, on top of his game that night. To me, you go with the hot hand because relievers, as good as many of them are, may falter as opposed to, again, a pitcher who’s still mowing them down. Plus, he had only thrown 73 pitches (48 for strikes) and given up just one run on two hits (both singles) with 9 K’s against no walks. So he works 5 1/3 and has a 1-0 lead, but a one-out single and he’s pulled.
I recall great pitcher such as Gaylord Perry (especially when he pitched on poor clubs like the Cleveland Indians) saying he virtually refused to come out of games after working, say, eight innings, only to hand the game and his fate over to someone else. The greats wanted to be responsible for their own outcomes and they hated to come out of games. So, yes, things have changed a lot. Now you even hear big name pitchers work, for instance, six innings and proclaim, “I did my job.” The bar has clearly been lowered; it’s a brand new ball game to purists/old timers.