White Sox intentionally walk Dodgers’ Trea Turner 1-2, Max Muncy calls with HR

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In a rarity that left many scratching their heads, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa asked left-handed reliever Bennett Sousa to intentionally walk Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner, who was making facing a 1-2 count with two outs. Freddie Freeman had just passed second on a wild throw from Sousa.

The move backfired, as Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy followed with a three-run homer to left field to give the Dodgers a 10-5 lead in the sixth inning. The Dodgers won 11-9.

“The baseball spirit in me gets it,” Muncy said. “At the same time, I don’t know if walking someone with two strikes is always the right decision.”

La Russa was surprised to face questions about his decision afterwards.

“Turner was a left-handed strike against a southpaw,” La Russa said. “It’s something you can avoid, if you can, and we had an open base and Muncy happened to be the guy behind him. And it’s a better game… Now if (Will) Smith hits behind him , it would have been a different thing. But Muncy is there, it’s an easy call.

“If Turner (gets) a shot there, I’d walk into the lake or something because that would’ve been stupid. And (Sousa) got ahead of Muncy (in the count).”

Turner was one of the league’s most dangerous hitters this season, slashing .302/.358/.477 with seven homers and 13 stolen bases. But facing 1-2 counts, Turner entered Thursday’s game cutting 0.197/0.204/0.304 for his career. He’s 10-for-39 (.256) this season with two doubles, no walks and 17 strikeouts when the count goes 1-2.

Muncy, who is averaging .159 and .626 OPS this season, has the highest batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers in his career.

“Obviously my year has sucked so far,” Muncy said. “Trea was really good. But at the time, I was animated.”

It was a season with some eccentric intentional walks, as the Los Angeles Angels intentionally walked Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager with the bases loaded on April 16, giving the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Former Angels manager Joe Maddon’s decision worked, however, as the Angels won 9-6.

(Photo: David Banks/USA Today)

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