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Gerrit Cole Was in the Bullpen, Why Didn't A.J. Hinch Use Him in Game 7?

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros walks to the bullpen during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Gerrit Cole is still waiting for the bullpen phone to ring. After the righty dominated Game 5 of the World Series, he was set to be available in relief in Game 7. The Houston Astros got themselves in a ton of trouble in the series finale, Cole warmed up twice and still, manager A.J. Hinch refused to use his best pitcher. It's a decision that will haunt Hinch and the franchise for a long time.

Cole warmed up when starter Zack Greinke began to hit a wall. But when Greinke was pulled after allowing a run in the seventh inning, Will Harris replaced him instead of Cole. Harris entered with a 2-1 lead and promptly surrendered a two-run home run to Howie Kendrick.

The Astros wound up using Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith and Jose Urquidy. Including Harris, those relievers surrendered four runs (one of Harris' was charged to Greinke) and seven hits in 2.2 innings. All the while Cole remained in the bullpen without entering the game.

The Nationals destroyed Houston's bullpen and won Game 7 6-2 and clinch their first World Series title.

Cole hadn't made a relief appearance since he was in college at UCLA, and only did that once. But this was a special circumstance. You have to put your best pitcher on the mound in that situation. Greinke left with a one-run lead and the bullpen imploded. Cole should have been the one getting the ball after Greinke.