White Sox' Tony La Russa goes off after Trea Turner intentional walk questions

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La Russa goes off after Trea Turner intentional walk questions originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Tony La Russa doesn’t understand why there was a bit of an uproar on White Sox Twitter after he made the decision to intentionally walk Trea Turner with a 1-2 count, following a wild pitch that vacated first base.

“Let me ask you a question: Is there some question as to whether that was a good move or not?”

Uh, yes. Yes, there was. In fact many, many people on social media questioned that move.

If you were one of those people wondering why La Russa opted to give Turner a pass on a 1-2 count, then the Sox manager has some more questions for you.

“Do you know what (Turner) hits against left-handed pitching? With 0-1, or two strikes, do you know what he hits? Do you know what Muncy hits with two strikes, against left-handed pitching?”

The answer to the Turner questions (coming into Thursday’s game): .286, .400 and .227. For whatever it’s worth, he hits .256 with a 1-2 count. As for Muncy, he was hitting .125 against lefties and .097 with two strikes, coming into the game.

Theoretically it makes sense to give Turnerー one of the Dodgers’ best hittersー a pass to face Max Muncyー one of their worst. But on a 1-2 count, conventional wisdom would say the Sox should’ve pitched around Turner, maybe inducing him to swing on a pitch outside the zone, rather than loading up the bases for free. That could’ve resulted in a swing and miss, or some weak contact, to end the inning. Instead, Muncy hit the three-run homer which proved to be the game-winning hit.

Still, La Russa was incredulous that anyone would think it’s a bad idea to intentionally walk a man in that situation.

“I mean, is that really a question? Because it was 1-2? Turner with a strike left against left handers is something you can avoid, if you can. And we had an open base, and Muncy happened to be the guy behind him. And that’s the better matchup. If somebody disagrees, that’s the beauty of this game. You’re welcome to it. But that wasn’t a tough call.

“If maybe Smith was hitting behind him, it’d have been a different thing. But Muncy’s there, it’s an easy call. I mean, it’s an easy call for me. If Turner gets a hit there, I’d be walking into the lake or something, because that would’ve been stupid.

“Does anybody in this room really think that Turner should haveー even with the countー we should have gone after Turner?”

Nobody raised their hands, or answered La Russa’s question, but it’s safe to say at least a few people thought a pitch around may have been a better course of action. Maybe it would’ve led to the same result, but maybe the White Sox would have been able to wiggle out of the jam to keep the score 6-5, at the time.

“I would say that’s no chance,” La Russa said. “Muncy’s the guy to get out of the inning, we just missed him.”

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