Much was made of Tony La Russa’s decision to intentionally walk Trea Turner with a 1-2 count, only to have Max Muncy hit a three-run homer directly behind him. But the White Sox loss didn’t hinge on that one decision, and that one decision alone. Dylan Cease and Bennett Sousa struggled in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Jake Burger, for all his heroics at the plate recently, made some critical mistakes in the field as well.
After the game, Burger didn’t care much that he continued to rake, instead focusing on his defensive miscues, and taking ownership for the loss.
“That stings,” Burger said. “It’s going to be haunting me for a while. I’ll be thinking about it every single time I go out there and give 100% effort. All I can do is move forward and work as hard as I can.”
Both mistakes came in the fifth inning. First, Burger had an opportunity to turn a double play that would have ended the mounting Dodgers threat and kept the score 4-0 in favor of the Sox. Looking back, Burger wishes he had come in a bit to make the play a little easier.
“Right off the bat it took a weird hop and you had some side spin on that. Any time you wait back on that, it’s going to eat you up, like it did to me. I was fortunate enough to get an out out of that.”
Three batters later, Burger had another opportunity to end the inning on a Turner ground ball. If he had, the score would’ve been 4-2. But once again, Burger didn’t come in on the play and Turner was able to leg it out for an infield single, and the inning rolled on.
“I knew it from the second I fielded it, he’s a burner down the line and I’ve got to come through with that. I don’t know if I was just staying back, being a little hesitant. But at third base, your first step is pivotal. Got to have a better first step than that.
“It’s baseball and errors happen, but at the end, I kind of gauge my errors based on where I’m at positionally. If I didn’t take a good first step, if I didn’t put myself in the best possible position to make a play and today I didn’t do that. That’s how I kind of gauge that.”
In the end, the Dodgers scored six runs in that inning. Although Burger’s miscues didn’t help, they weren’t the sole reason things fell apart, however. We’ve already mentioned La Russa’s questionable decision, and Burger certainly had nothing to do with Muncy’s three-run blast. But Burger still put the blame for the loss squarely on his own shoulders.
“Lost a game today, I take full responsibility for that. I need to be better in the field. It’s just move on and keep working.”
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