Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa has had plenty of gaffes over his tenure with the organization, but he may have pushed the envelope a bit too far Friday night. La Russa decided starter Michael Kopech did not have the juice to complete his bid for a no-hitter and yanked the pitcher ahead of the seventh inning in a 0-0 game against the Detroit Tigers.
Kopech had thrown just 85 pitches to this point, and was on fire with 11 strikeouts. The Tigers had failed to get anything going against the White Sox starter and given how they’ve fared this season, it felt reasonable to give Kopech a longer leash. Reynaldo Lopez took over for the White Sox. He did give up a hit, but got out of the inning successfully.
La Russa famously criticized Yermin Mercedes for hitting a home run when he swung on a 3-0 pitch last season. He’s appeared lost at times in the dugout this year, and fans have publicly chanted for him to be fired. He’s intentionally walked batters after they’ve been down in the count, and now he’s pulled Kopech in a no-hitter situation. We’ll see if the players have any comments about La Russa’s decision later on.