by Alex Poletti
Photo by Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
As Julio Urias got the called third strike on the inside half of the plate, the young lefty ended a 32-year drought for the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the likes of Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw were celebrating, they all had to acknowledge the impact of the manager who made their victory possible: Kevin Cash of the Rays.
“He really turned the game around for us,” Betts says of the Rays manager. “Without his presence, we wouldn’t have won tonight. It’s as simple as that.”
In an era of micro-managing, Cash took the cake on Tuesday, pulling Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell after he gave up just his second hit of the game with one out in the sixth inning. Immediately after he was pulled, the top of the Dodgers lineup scored two runs, enough to put the game away for good.
“It was a brilliant managerial move,” Dave Roberts, the manager for the 2020 champs, says. “I wish I had thought of it. I’d like to think I know what I’m doing, but I could never do as good of a job making the Dodgers win as Kevin did today.”
The Dodgers have been the best team in baseball on paper for the better half of the last decade, but they have pulled up just short of immortality a couple of times. While some of this can be attributed to the cheating of the Astros and Red Sox, Dave Roberts’ postseason ineffectiveness cannot be denied.
“We’ve always had the talent, but getting the managerial side of things down has always been the hard part,” President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman says. “Once we realized that the best manager for us could be on the other side of the diamond, it opened up a whole bunch of new opportunities for us.”
After pulling Snell and letting Nick Anderson, who despite having a stellar regular season could not pitch a scoreless inning to save his life in October, pitch to the most potent lineup in baseball, Cash cemented his place among the likes of Tommy Lasorda and Walter Alston as the most impactful skippers in Dodgers history.
“It’s crazy that one decision put me in such great company,” Cash, who has already re-downloaded Linkedin on his phone to look for new job opportunities, says. “I always knew I’d win a World Series. I just never realized it wouldn’t be for my own team.”