CHICAGO — A day after ordering an intentional two-shot walk that backfired, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he would do it again.
In the sixth inning of Thursday’s 11-9 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, La Russa walked right-hander Trea Turner with a 1-2 count. Left-handed hitter Max Muncy followed with a three-run homer from left-hander Bennett Sousa that opened up Los Angeles’ lead to 10-5.
Muncy had five RBIs in his return after missing 11 games with an inflamed left elbow. He came in hitting .150 to Turner’s .303.
Ahead of Friday’s home game against Texas, La Russa, 77, referenced a line he said was passed to him by former White Sox and Baltimore coach Paul Richards.
“Trust your instincts. Don’t cover your butt,” La Russa said.
Freddie Freeman was second in the sixth on Thursday after Sousa rebounded an 0-2 slider for a wild pitch. With first base open, La Russa ordered the intentional march to Turner, who he believed posed a bigger threat.
“Pssssh, 24 hours later, I’m even more surprised,” La Russa said of the reaction. “That’s not even a close call. I mean, do you know what Muncy was hitting on the left side this season? .125.”
The move was all about Turner, who had already driven in a rush when he hit a field single.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Turner is a career .254 hitter after going 1-2 against a left-handed pitcher, and this season he’s hitting .333 (5 for 15) in such situations.
“Turner is a tough no-hitter, one-hit, two-hit hitter,” La Russa said. “He shortens and he has all kinds of ways to put the ball in play and hurt you.
“Now if it had been a right-handed pitcher, yeah, I probably would have tried to pitch.”
Turner said he was amazed when he was first dispatched. Muncy admitted he was flustered, then threw a 2-2 pitch from Sousa just over the left-center wall for his fourth homer.
“Since then someone has sent me stats of what Turner is hitting with 1-2 counts,” La Russa said. “He’s like the third or fourth best hitter in baseball in the last three years. I mean, we all know that.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.