Tony La Russa Defends Walking Trea Turner on 1-2 Count: 'That Wasn't a Tough Call'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 9, 2022

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday, June 4, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa called for an intentional walk on Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner on Thursday despite the batter having a 1-2 count with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.

White Sox Talk @NBCSWhiteSox

"When was the last time you saw somebody intentionally walked on 1-2?"<br><br>"Doesn't happen often."<br><br>*Boom* <a href="https://t.co/LNR52guBkG">pic.twitter.com/LNR52guBkG</a>

The decision backfired when the next batter, Max Muncy, deposited a three-run homer for a 10-5 lead en route to an 11-9 win.

Los Angeles Dodgers @Dodgers

Welcome back, Max! <a href="https://t.co/rX0dnXCI4x">pic.twitter.com/rX0dnXCI4x</a>

After the game, LaRussa defended his decision, saying it "wasn't a tough call" and that the choice was made after left-hander Bennett Sousa unleashed a wild pitch to Turner with an 0-2 count.

He also said they had a better matchup with Muncy facing a left-hander despite Turner being down 1-2.

White Sox Talk @NBCSWhiteSox

Tony La Russa defends his decision to walk Trae Turner on a 1-2 count <a href="https://t.co/hyhUQgTtXa">pic.twitter.com/hyhUQgTtXa</a>

White Sox Talk @NBCSWhiteSox

"Does anybody in this room really think that even with the count, we should have gone to Turner? No chance." <a href="https://t.co/XbFqGgoEGv">pic.twitter.com/XbFqGgoEGv</a>

Joe Sheehan, Foolish Baseball and James O'Brien of Jomboy Media broke down the numbers:

Joe Sheehan @joe_sheehan

I feel silly even breaking it down, but...<br><br>Trea Turner, career vs. LHP after 1-2: .258/.310/.390<br>Bennett Sousa, career vs. RHB after 1-2: .167/.286/.167<br><br>TLR traded that for...<br><br>Max Muncy, career vs. LHP: .251/.365/.492<br>Sousa, career vs. LHB: .300/.389/.367<br><br>Unconscionable.

Foolish Baseball @FoolishBB

Turner after 1-2, career = .618 OPS<br>Muncy vs LHP, career = .857 OPS <a href="https://t.co/NoIEGoPgr6">https://t.co/NoIEGoPgr6</a>

Jomboy @Jomboy_

"do you know what he hits against left-handed pitching with 2-strikes? Do you know what Muncy hits against left-handed pitching?"<br><br>Trea Turner vs lefties with 2 strikes: <br>27 AB, 7 H, 3BB, 11 SO .259/.333/.370/.703<br><br>Muncy vs lefties<br>40 AB, 5 H, 10 BB, 8 SO .125/.300/.150/.450 <a href="https://t.co/PrPTu2NcdX">https://t.co/PrPTu2NcdX</a>

The intentional walk decision was the first two-strike IBB of the year:

Jesse Rogers @JesseRogersESPN

According to <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNStatsInfo</a>, Trea Turner's IBB in the 6th inning today was the first 2-strike IBB of the season. (count was 1-2) There were 2 last season -- both like today -- came after first base opened up due to a steal or wild pitch.<br><br>Max Muncy followed with a 3 run HR

The White Sox fell to 26-29 after losing their second straight game. The Dodgers (37-20) extended their lead in the National League West to two games.