The Chicago White Sox are 16-13. That is good enough for a three-way tie for first place of the American League Central division. They are great at home and .500 on the road which is a great recipe for success in Major League Baseball. They still have so many months left in the season as well so they can pull away from the rest of the pack in the division.
In fact, when Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez get healthy, they are good enough to win the World Series. With all of that in mind, they still should consider parting ways with Tony La Russa. It would really help them reach their potential if they made that move and brought someone else in. It is a long shot at this point but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea.
The Chicago White Sox can’t win with Tony La Russa not knowing the rules of 2021.
In Wednesday’s game, there is no denying that the White Sox weren’t able to hit anything for most of the game. The players deserve the blame for that. It also doesn’t help when the manager doesn’t know the full extra-innings rule. You don’t have to like the “runner on second” rule in extra innings, most of us don’t, but that doesn’t mean that the manager shouldn’t know how it works.
The player who was the last hitter of the inning prior is the player who goes out there and takes second base. If it was the pitcher, however, you can do the second to last guy. That rule was not pointed out to Tony La Russa and he let Liam Hendriks go out there instead of using Jose Abreu.
Now, this rule is technically new in 2021 because there was a universal DH in 2020. No pitchers were batting in the National League parks so it was never an issue for anyone. That doesn’t excuse any manager for not knowing the full extent of it. It also isn’t a good look on his staff because not a single person stepped up to say something.
Jose Abreu isn’t the best runner in the world but he is more capable than their closer. They also don’t need Hendriks getting hurt on the base pads which is something that he isn’t used to. Hopefully, this is the last of the issues that come with decision-making for a while.
The White Sox did not lose that game because of Tony La Russa. Hendriks got to third on a fielder’s choice before Leury Garcia got caught stealing and before Billy Hamilton struck out to end the inning. There was never an instance where Abreu would have scored had he been in over Hendriks.
It is more the principle of the manager not knowing the rules and the potential for it to be the reason they lost. There have been a few instances this season where poor decision-making has hindered their chance to win. That needs to stop. Letting Tony La Russa go might be the best decision but if it doesn’t happen, he needs to be better.