So far in 2021, we haven’t been afraid to be harsh on Tony La Russa when he deserves it. On the other side of the coin, however, we have to praise him for his triumphs. Well, in last night’s Chicago White Sox victory over the Cleveland Indians, La Russa made a decision that deserves a lot of love. It ended up being a much closer game in the end and Liam Hendriks even had to come to make a save. They might have even ended up losing if La Russa didn’t make one minor change.
Tony La Russa made one change that was crucial in the Chicago White Sox win on Tuesday.
It was clear that it wasn’t Yermin Mercedes’ day. He actually pitched in Monday’s debacle against the Boston Red Sox. He was in this game as a first baseman. Those are the first two games of the year in which Mercedes played on defense. La Russa wanted to make Jose Abreu the DH for a day so he let Mercedes play first because of how well he hit Zach Plesac in last week’s matchup.
Well, Mercedes didn’t look too comfortable at the plate for the first time this season as well. It only got worse when he fouled a ball off his leg and was in considerable pain. He didn’t come out of the game and was never going to but it was just clearly an off-game for him.
He also made a very simple error at first base during the game as well which is something you cannot have happen in a close baseball game. Luckily, the White Sox put up enough runs to withstand the Cleveland comeback.
La Russa made the decision to move Andrew Vaughn to first base and end Mercedes’ day. Leury Garcia entered in for Mercedes and took Vaugh’s spot in leftfield. That proved to be a very good decision because of the defensive play that Andrew Vaughn made at first. He made a diving catch with two outs that prevented multiple runs from scoring. That could have been the difference in the game for sure as Cleveland ended up getting it to within three runs.
A lot of great things went into this win but this little defensive decision was a big factor. La Russa clearly saw something in Mercedes that made him pull him out. He referenced the error and weird-looking at-bats during his postgame. A good managerial move made by La Russa is exactly what the doctor ordered for this White Sox team.