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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Tony La Russa ripped for letting Michael Kopech pitch injured

Tony La Russa looking on

Aug 22, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa (22) looks on during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is hearing it again from fans and analysts for a decision he made Monday against the Kansas City Royals.

White Sox starter Michael Kopech appeared to suffer a knee injury during warmups prior to Monday’s game. The issue was obvious enough that La Russa and team trainers were summoned to the mound before Kopech even faced a batter. La Russa let Kopech pitch anyway despite the issue.

The decision did not pan out well. Kopech’s fastball hovered around 90 MPH, well down from his 95 MPH season average. He threw just 19 pitches, allowing four earned runs on one hit, two walks, and a hit batter. He was ultimately removed from the game without recording an out.

La Russ was immediately criticized for allowing Kopech to start the game by fans and analysts alike.

Maybe Kopech insisted on starting, or perhaps Chicago’s trainers felt he would be able to gut it out. Regardless, La Russa looks very bad here. Not only was this an important game for the White Sox, but Kopech is a 26-year-old the team has invested a lot in, and this looks like an unnecessary risk. Plus, it was pretty apparent from the start that Kopech simply was not physically capable of pitching effectively.

La Russa’s managerial decisions have been a source of frustration for Chicago fans all year. This one will be particularly infuriating from their point of view.


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