It turns out that Kevin Cash pulling Snell early isn’t even the worst quick hook of the past two World Series.
Hinch is down with analytics but he also trusts his eyes. If any manager was going to let Greinke, who was dominant until the seventh inning, stay in the game after he had the Washington Nationals off balance all night, it was Hinch. The Astros skipper defied analytics during the 2017 World Series when he left unheralded reliever Brad Peacock in to pitch the final 3.2 inning of game 3 Peacock struck out four and didn’t allow a hit to earn his first major league save. It was the longest hitless World Series relief outing since 1964.
The athletic Greinke, who has won his share of Gold Gloves, threw leather at the Nats and an assortment of perplexing pitches. The focused former Cy Young Award winner faced only one batter over the minimum after six innings. With one out in the seventh Greinke made his only mistake of the night giving up a homer to Anthony Rendon, who cut the margin to 2-1. It was the Nats first hit since the second inning. After issuing a walk to the dangerous Juan Soto. Hinch pulled Greinke, who was utterly fantastic.
Astros ace Gerrit Cole was warming up along with Will Harris. “When we saw Cole warming up,” Nats hitting coach Kevin Long said, “We were almost like, ‘Please bring him in.’ Because that’s how good Zack Greinke was.”
Hinch, who committed two egregious errors during one visit to the mound, called for Harris and opted to rest Cole until the most dominant pitcher in baseball could sign a $324 million contract with the Yankees. That cements the move as one of the dumbest in World Series history as Howie Kendrick wasted little time in launching a two-run homer that gave the Nats the lead.
Too bad the Astros couldn’t steal a sign that would prevent a quick hook, which ultimately cost the team the World Series.