CHICAGO – One of the biggest topics of talk in Major League Baseball late Thursday and early Friday was a decision made by the White Sox manager.
Safe to say, there were a few who were puzzled by Tony La Russa’s decision in the sixth inning.
With the White Sox down 7-5 to the Dodgers in the sixth inning with two outs and runners on second and third, relief pitcher Bennett Sousa had a Trea Turner on a 1-2 count. The manager sent the signal in to have the batter walked intentionally despite being close to a strikeout.
Max Muncy, the next batter, would make him pay for that decision as he hit a three-run homer a few rows into the bleachers in left field for a three-run homer. Those would turn out to be the winning runs in a wild 11-9 victory by Los Angeles that had a number of twists and turns.
That included a 4-0 White Sox lead, an error that led to six Dodgers’ runs in the sixth, and a late run by the hots that ended up falling short. But at the end of the day, all the focus was on the call to intentionally walk Turner with the 1-2 count.
When asked about it in his postgame news conference, La Russa didn’t have regrets about making the decision.
“Is there some question about whether that was a good move or not?” said La Russa when the initial inquiry was made on the decision on the 1-2 intentional walk.
“Do you know what (Turner) hits against left-handed pitching with 0-1 or two strikes? Do you know what Muncy hits with two strikes against a left-handed pitcher? Is that really a question? We had an open base and Muncy happened to be the guy behind him and that’s a better matchup.
“That wasn’t a tough call.”
The moment is another addition to what’s been a disappointing start for the club that has dealt with ups and downs in play along with injuries. As the White Sox start their series with the Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field this weekend, the team is 26-29 and in third place in the American League Central.
At the moment they sit five games in back of the Twins for first place in the division as criticism of La Russa has risen in his second year back with the White Sox. Certainly, that has been turned up after a questionable decision that played a part in a defeat on Sunday which has caused chatter around Major League Baseball.