Any time your leadoff hitter enters the game with a .189 average and goes hitless with three strikeouts, you’re going to get some criticism as a manager. Sure enough, that happened on Tuesday night to the point where even the Dodgers’ broadcast team took notice.
Spectrum SportsNet LA’s Joe Davis and Eric Karros did not hold back on their comments, and openly questioned Tony La Russa’s decision-making behind penciling in Leury Garcia at the top of the lineup. Two separate instances of the announcers commenting on the matter, which are linked below, were caught by Twitter user @SwiftChancellor.
During the first occurrence, Garcia was up with two runners on and one out in the fifth inning. Play-by-play man Joe Davis can be heard on the broadcast saying, “I understand that he fulfills some qualities you’re looking for in an old-school leadoff hitter. He can run a little bit. But, typically you see teams put their best hitters at the top of the lineups these days, and Garcia has not been close to one of those.”
In this particular situation, Garcia struck out swinging, and the White Sox eventually failed to push across another run that inning.
Fast-forward to the bottom of the eighth, Garcia struck out yet again and looked rather uncompetitive throughout his whole at-bat. That’s when color analyst Eric Karros chimed in, mentioning the impact that lineup construction can have on a given game. “There’s only going to be a handful of White Sox hitters who have four plate appearances tonight, and you’re basically saying by putting Garcia at the top of the lineup, ‘He’s one of those guys I want to have get four at-bats.’ Huh?”
Fans immediately reacted to these now-viral clips on Twitter, the majority expressing their agreement with the announcers, and taking the opportunity to air similar frustrations.
With an offense struggling as much as the White Sox’ have this season, the underperforming team and manager are bound to receive criticism. La Russa doesn’t help his cause any either when putting a player like Garcia in a position to receive the majority of at-bats in a game. To be completely fair to Garcia, he was also not the only one who struggled on Tuesday night. Scroll through the box score and you’ll find only three players who collected hits in a game where the offense was shut down as a whole. That being said, the utilityman is the unfortunate victim of a less than ideal situation and his continued struggles only add to the fanbase’s displeasure.
Putting Wednesday night’s outcome aside, the White Sox will have another chance at the series win on Thursday afternoon. First pitch of the rubber match is set for 1:10 PM CDT.
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