Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is no stranger to … atypical decisions. Heck, even within the realm of intentional walks, he has done some weird stuff already this year. Guy loves ’em!
Add another one to the books:
So you’ve got a 4-0 game in the 5th inning, with a runner on second and two outs. SOME OF THAT could give you reason to pull out the intentional walk, especially against a great hitter like Jose Ramirez.
But after it got to 0-1, it makes a whole lot less sense. Even a stud like Ramirez is a .266/.307/.473/106 wRC+ career hitter after going down 0-1. It’s weird to do it then.
To that end, I love the discussion from broadcasters Jason Benetti and Steve Stone at the end of the clip. Any idea why you’d wait to do that until after the first pitch? Nope! No idea.
No one has any idea. Maybe even including Tony La Russa. (Had I to guess, La Russa either meant to do it before the first pitch and didn’t get a chance to communicate it, or didn’t realize that he wanted to do it until the first pitch went by.)
But it did work out. Guardians DH Franmil Reyes, who is really struggling this year and is a righty, wound up striking out to end the inning. Still, it’s another weird one, and apparently one that hasn’t happened before in baseball history? Debate amongst yourselves whether it was nevertheless a good idea (just a weird one).