Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he didn’t have an issue with the Twins throwing behind rookie sensation Yermin Mercedes on Tuesday night. Twins right-hander, Tyler Duffey, threw a pitch low and behind Mercedes in the top of the 7th inning for the first pitch of the at-bat.
The Chicago White Sox needs to see their manager defend their guy, not the opponent.
Duffey was ejected for the pitch which came one day after Mercedes hit a home run on a 3-0 count off of Willians Astudillo, a position player for the Twins, in the top of the ninth inning of a blowout win for the White Sox.
"“I wasn’t that suspicious,” La Russa said after the Sox loss on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins. “I’m suspicious when someone throws at someone’s head. I didn’t have a problem with how the Twins handled that.”"
It seems as if the questions raised in the offseason about La Russa adjusting to the latest version of Major League Baseball are resurfacing as his old-school tendencies are reappearing.
"“I’m going to play like that. I’m Yermin. … We’re just having fun. It’s baseball,” said Mercedes after Monday’s blowout win.“He made a mistake. There’ll be a consequence that he has to endure here within our family. But it won’t happen again,” said La Russa in response to Mercedes’ comments.“The game wasn’t over! Keep doing you, big daddy,” said Tim Anderson in response to both La Russa and Mercedes’ comments."
As an old-school manager, it was expected that La Russa would follow the unwritten rules of baseball and he preached that it was more about sportsmanship and respect for the game of baseball after Mercedes hit the home run.
La Russa not defending his player after getting thrown at is worrisome. He reiterated multiple times Tuesday night that he did not see it as retaliation. With La Russa himself calling Mercedes clueless and unsportsmanlike, it seemed as if he was okay with the Twins’ actions. La Russa reached out to the Twins after the game on Monday to apologize, hoping to avoid retaliation.
"“I don’t ever want to give the other team an excuse to take a shot at one of our players. … You say ‘unwritten rules,’ but they’re just common sense,” said La Russa."
Although the White Sox are still sitting at the top of both their division and the American League, it seems that there may be some tension rising in the clubhouse with La Russa’s old-school tendencies. The White Sox are a club full of fiery personalities and there is still an adjustment that La Russa needs to make to get his team behind him.
A manager should defend his players through these situations, whether they believe the action was called for or not. Sticking up for your players is how managers earn their respect. The game of baseball has evolved from where it was years ago. White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn also disagreed with the idea that Mercedes was in the wrong.
"“The way I see it is for position players on the mound, there are no rules. Let’s get the game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happens, then put a pitcher out there,” said Lynn."
There are many differing opinions circulating through the White Sox clubhouse right now and the team will need to come together if they want to reach their goal of making it to the World Series.
With the loss on Tuesday, the Sox fall to 25-16 on the season but still hold the best record in the American League. The White Sox looks to close out their series with the Twins with a win as Lucas Giolito takes the mound for the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.