His second term with the Chicago White Sox got off to a good start. And a decision in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Cincinnati will only raise more doubts about whether he’s the right fit for the job.
La Russa admitted he was unaware of a rule that would have allowed him to use Jose Abreu as an automatic runner on second base rather than close Liam Hendriks in the 10th inning.
“I will re-read this situation,” he said. “I guess you know the rules there. Now I know. “
The pandemic rule states that the runner must be the batter preceding the lead batter in this inning, but there is an exception if that would be the pitcher.
Abreu came out with a putout in the ninth before Andrew Vaughn went down in a double play. Michael Kopech put out the first two hitters in the lower half before giving up a single and two runs – one intentional – for load the bases.
The White Sox then made a double change. Jake Lamb went to play left field in place of Vaughn and took the pitcher’s place in order, with Hendriks taking over from Kopech and replacing Vaughn in fifth place.
Chicago came out of this traffic jam, sending the game to extra innings. But when the 10th inning started, Hendriks was on second base when Abreu could have been there.
“You have to use whoever made the last out, and that was Vaughn – not Abreu,” La Russa said. “Vaughn was the last one. “
When a reporter mentioned the exception regarding the pitcher’s position, he admitted that he was not aware.
“I didn’t know that,” La Russa said. “We all thought Liam was going to be the runner and that’s how it turned out. We wanted a double switch to keep it in the game. If you watch Abreu, come back to (Yoan) Moncada, etc., that’s not what you want to get out of the game twice. I didn’t know Abreu could have run. I thought it must have been the guy who made the last withdrawal – or that place in order. “
The White Sox had runners in the first and third places with one out. Leury Garcia was sent off trying to steal second place and Billy Hamilton pulled out. The Reds won when Jesse Winker made a single in the 10th inning.
La Russa did not hesitate to attempt to steal, claiming that “the base was there to be stolen; we did not steal it. “
But had he realized that Abreu could have started the set on second base instead of Hendriks?
“If I had known that,” La Russa said. ” I did not know that. I’ll check the rule. That’s why the guys on the bench came to ask me about the fact that Liam was going to be the runner. I said, “Yeah, I know. So we didn’t know. “
La Russa trailed only Connie Mack and John McGraw with 2,744 wins. But when the White Sox hired him to replace Rick Renteria, the move raised more than a few eyebrows.
La Russa, 76, hadn’t filled out a roster card since 2011, when St. Louis defeated Texas in the World Series. And the White Sox, with a fun team that made the playoffs for the first time since 2008, had the goals set. They are second in AL Central at 16-13.
La Russa has been called into question for leaving Matt Foster and Lucas Giolito in games for too long. This time he ignored a rule. And pitcher Dallas Keuchel could see why.
“Honestly, I really had no idea,” he said. “I feel like I’ve seen wacky and weird things happen in this game. In my opinion, that’s really a question that you sort of attribute to the length of the regulations, particularly how some of these rule changes have happened over the last couple of years. If it’s somebody’s fault, it’s sort of everyone’s fault. ”