Braves World Series: Why Snitker Made Right Decision in Pulling Ian Anderson

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 29: Ian Anderson #36 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game Three of the World Series at Truist Park on October 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 29: Ian Anderson #36 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game Three of the World Series at Truist Park on October 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

While the Atlanta Braves won Game 3 in the World Series to take a 2-1 lead in the series, the win didn’t come without some controversy.

In what was a great evening for the Atlanta Braves and their fans to win a World Series game at home for the first time since 1995, a lot of the conversation after the game had little to do with the Braves’ win.

Alan detailed a lot of that chatter from national media outlets that you can read here.

But here’s the short version — Ian Anderson had a no-hitter going through 5 innings and manager Brian Snitker decided to pull him after throwing just 76 pitches.

Beyond the chatter in Alan’s article about why this type of strategy is bad for the game of baseball, let me give you three reasons why it was the right decision.

1) It Worked — the Braves Won

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first — the Braves won the game. Somehow in the midst of all the talk about whether or not it was the right decision or it’s good for the game, the Braves won and that’s all that really matters.

2) Ian Wasn’t Exactly Sharp

Anyone who was watching the game and actually paying attention, Ian wasn’t very sharp on Friday night. He got a big double-play in the first that helped him work around 2 walks.

The weather played a big factor in his command issues at times — it seemed like the rain always picked up whenever he took the mound. Either way, I didn’t think Ian was his best. Even Pedro Martinez said after the game he’s seen Ian’s changeup be much better.

He threw 39 strikes and 37 balls in this game — not exactly a model of efficiency or an indication of someone in control.

I’m not trying to say Ian was bad by any means, he was really sharp in the second, third, and fifth innings when he was able to command that fastball and get ahead. But the Astros hitters also bailed him out a lot.

Bottom line, maybe Ian could have stole another inning or two, but he wasn’t throwing a complete game.

3) Braves Had No Margin of Error

I think maybe the biggest reason Snitker decided to pull Ian was that there was no margin of error in a 1-0 game.

If you send Ian back out there and he walks a batter and gives up a 2-run homer, you suddenly turn a fantastic start into a potentially heartbreaking loss.

Had the Braves offense come up with a big hit in that third inning to give Ian some cushion, I think there’s a very good chance Ian goes back out for the sixth.

As it was, there was no margin for error and Snitker felt it was best to go to his big guns in the bullpen to finish it off.

A lot of people make the argument that you needed to save the bullpen for these next two bullpen games. But because they have back-to-back bullpen games, it made Game 3 essentially a must-win. Again, no margin of error.

The only real argument for Snitker to leave in Ian was to save the bullpen. Let me remind you THIS IS THE WORLD SERIES. You don’t save your bullets when a World Series is on the line.

A-Roid had this tweet after the game trying to make that argument.

Let me tell you why this thought is overblown.

As I said earlier, Ian wasn’t going to throw a complete game. At most he was going to give you one, maybe two, more innings.

The Braves were going to have to use at least two of their big relievers at some point in that game regardless.

And if the Braves are going to win one of these next two bullpen games, it’s going to be because of their bats. I expect these to be high-scoring games.

There is also the argument that you give the Astros hitters another look at the Braves’ top bullpen guys. That’s certainly true, but the Braves’ top relievers are going to pitch in every game the Braves are winning, either they get it done or they don’t — there’s no avoiding that.

I get it, I’m an old-school fan, and I Iove watching pitchers go deep into games. But this is about winning, and Snitker did what he thought gave the Braves the best chance to win that game — and it worked.

Again, I’m not trying to take anything away from Ian’s performance, he was great, but I thought he was more wildly effective in this one on a cold night against a lineup that hadn’t seen him before.

It never really even felt like a no-hitter to me, and Ian himself said that when the relievers came in they had no idea there was even a no-hitter in progress.

Next. Anderson's Night Was Quite Long Enough. dark

All they were thinking about was getting outs and getting the win. That’s what they did on Friday night and that’s what we should be talking about.