La Russa would repeat intentional base with 2 strikes

CHICAGO — A day after ordering an intentional two-strike walk backfired, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he would do it again.

In the sixth inning of Thursday’s game in Chicago’s 11-9 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, La Russa walked the right-handed hitter and speedy runner Trea Turner when he had a count of 1-2.

Left-handed batter followed Max Muncywho hit a three-run home run to left-hander Bennett Sousa and put Los Angeles ahead 10-5.

Muncy finished with five RBIs in his return after an 11-game absence due to left elbow inflammation. Before the game, Muncy was hitting .150 and Turner was hitting .303.

Prior to Friday’s home game against the Texas Rangers, the 77-year-old La Russa had quoted a line from former White Sox and Baltimore manager Paul Richards.

“Trust your gut, don’t protect your ass,” La Russa said.

Freddy Freeman had reached second in the sixth inning on a wild pitch by Sousa who was already 0-2 off Turner. With first base clear, La Russa ordered an intentional walk for Turner, whom he considered a greater danger at the time.

“Psssh! 24 hours later, I’m even more shocked,” La Russa said of the reaction. “The difference was considerable. I mean, do you know how much Muncy was hitting down the left side this season? .125”.

The decision was due to the dangerousness of Turner, who had already driven in a run with an infield single.

“Turner is an effective hitter with no strikes, or one or two strikes,” La Russa said. “He shortens and he has all kinds of resources to connect and cause damage.

“Now, if the pitcher had been right-handed, yes, possibly I would have gone for the pitch.”

Turner said he was surprised to advance to first. Muncy admitted he was irritated, then hit a 2-2 pitch off Sousa and sent it over the wall into left-center field for his fourth homer.

“Since then I’ve been sent some batting stats on Turner when he’s 1-2,” La Russa said. “This is about the third or fourth best slugger in baseball in the last three seasons. I mean, we all know it.”

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La Russa would repeat intentional base with 2 strikes