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Tony La Russa doubles down, defends intentional walk decision

by Joe Binder

Just when you think you’ve seen it all from White Sox manager Tony La Russa, you really actually haven’t.

Let’s start from the beginning and take a look at today’s controversial situation. The White Sox were trailing the Dodgers 7-5 in the top of the sixth inning. Freddie Freeman reached base on single to left, bringing up Trea Turner with no outs. Reliever Bennett Sousa managed to jump ahead 0-2 in the count, before a wild pitch allowed Freeman to advance to second. Despite it now being 1-2, La Russa instructed for an intentional walk that confused just about everyone, including broadcasters Jason Benetti and Steve Stone.

Rather than continue pitching to the Dodgers shortstop with first-base open, La Russa elected to have Sousa face Max Muncy in a lefty-lefty matchup with two on. Sure enough, Muncy homered to left field five pitches later and Los Angeles’ expanded their lead to 10-5.

Following the game, La Russa was immediately asked about his decision-making in the postgame press conference. The White Sox skipper not only seemed surprised but also visibly aggravated by the questions and began firing back at media members, most notably MLB.com’s Scott Merkin as apparent in the stream.

“Turner was a strike left against a left-hander,” La Russa explained. “It’s 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 a better matchup… Now if (Will) Smith was hitting behind him, it would have been a different thing. But Muncy’s there, it’s an easy call.”

Watch both clips below to see the White Sox manager’s full response.

As was expected, social media was set ablaze by both the incident and fiery postgame comments. Here’s just the tip of the iceberg:

On Twitter, Joe Sheehan also helped break down the stats for Turner, Muncy, and Sousa as it related to the situation. Let’s just say, the numbers don’t lie.

We’ll see if anything more unfolds from this situation. One thing that seems increasingly apparent is that the time has never been better for an accountability check.

Be sure to follow us on social media @SoxOn35th for more updates!

Featured Photo: © Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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