The Chicago White Sox suffered a frustrating 5-2 loss on Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers. The game featured both, the White Sox entering the seventh with a 2-1 lead and the Tigers making five errors, yet neither proved relevant to the end result. Afterward, manager Tony La Russa took the blame for mishandling starter Lucas Giolito.
Giolito had thrown six one-run innings for the White Sox before La Russa sent him back out to the mound for the seventh. He recorded a fly out after walking the leadoff man, and that's when his troubles started. Giolito allowed a game-tying double to Wilson Ramos, and then a go-ahead home run to Niko Goodrum. In the span of three pitches, the score flipped from a 2-1 White Sox advantage to a 4-2 Tigers lead.
Giolito was then allowed to face an additional two batters, retiring one and walking the other, before La Russa removed him from the contest. His final line saw him pitch 6 ⅔ innings while allowing four runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out seven batters and threw a season-high 114 pitches.
Giolito admitted during his post-game presser that he was running on fumes when La Russa allowed him to continue into the seventh. "I didn't have much left in the tank," he said, according to The Athletic's James Fegan. He then noted that, regardless of his physical state, his job was to get outs for as long as he remained in the game.
La Russa took responsibility for the seventh-inning meltdown, telling reporters that he misread the situation. "That's my fault for not recognizing it," he said of Giolito's dwindling energy level, per Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald.
While the Giolito error received the press, it wasn't La Russa's only misfire on Tuesday night. He also allowed light-hitting Billy Hamilton to bat with two on in the eighth inning rather than pinch-hit rookie Andrew Vaughn. It should be noted that Vaughn entered the night with a 97 OPS+, as compared to Hamilton's 68.
The White Sox's decision to hire La Russa was questioned at the time because it was unclear if he could adjust to the modern game after a decade in retirement. Mistakes like those made on Tuesday won't help to quiet the doubters.
The White Sox are now 12-10 on the season, good for second place in the American League Central.