La Russa defends decision to let Garcia hit in 6th originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
White socks had chances to score against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels’ bullpen on Thursday. But the team went 0-7 with runners in scoring position and ended up fell 4-1. Even though almost every batter except José Abreu was in contention for the plate, fans on social media seized on the fact that the big hitters spent the entire game on the bench instead of hitting a key spot. The single moment that drew the most criticism was in the sixth inning with two outs and players on first and third. Leuri Garcia entered the field with his .197 average, while Andrew Vaughn and Jake Burger, two of the team’s highest scoring players, were sidelined.
“I’m watching Leuri at-bats,” Tony La Russa said of the decision to stick with Garcia. Do you see Leuri’s bats? Do you know? He also, he went against Ohtani, which no one did. Put the ball into play. In the ninth, the two hitters who had the best record against (Raizel) Iglesias were the two guys who were leading: Garcia and (Josh) Harrison. So I like what I see.”
Many fans urged Andrew Vaughn to take the field to strike in this situation, but La Russa said before the game that the team wanted to take advantage of Thursday’s day off to give him an extended rest. After the game, La Russa reiterated that Vaughn was out of action today. But that still doesn’t explain why Burger missed out, especially considering his .326/.388/.651 ratio against left-handers.
“The burger was ready,” La Russa said. “There was a chance he was going to hit Sheets later.”
However, this was never destined to come true. With a right-hander on the mound, the next time Sheets’ spot came up, La Russa decided to keep him in the game rather than give Burger at-bat. Instead of elaborating on this particular point, La Russa went back to further defending his decision to leave Garcia in the sixth inning.
“Garcia deserved it and was at bat. He put the ball into play, fouled on several hard fields. Here’s how I look at it. I don’t look at results. It’s too easy.
Download MyTeams today!