Joe McEwing said Alexei Ramirez made the correct read in the ninth inning of Monday night’s 5-4 loss by the White Sox to the Tampa Bay Rays.
McEwing said he made the wrong one.
The split-second decision to send Ramirez home from second base on Adam LaRoche’s single to shallow center is an aggressive play that has benefited a stagnant White Sox a number of times in 2015. But it didn’t work on Monday as Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier threw a perfect strike home to easily nail Ramirez for the first out of the inning, and the White Sox ultimately didn’t score in the final frame of a one-run loss.
“I should have held (Ramirez) from the beginning,” McEwing said. “He made the right read. He held his ground, and when he saw the ball down, he decided to come. He was coming hard, and like I said, it’s one that I should have held him up. In that situation we have first and third with nobody out.
“I take full responsibility for that. It’s totally my fault. I know it’s a guy that throws above (average), and he’s got a great arm and charges the ball hard.”
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Ramirez barely budged when LaRoche broke his bat and sent a drive to shallow center off Tampa Bay closer Brad Boxberger. But realizing the ball would get down, Ramirez took off for third and said he wasn’t surprised to find McEwing had waved him home. About 10 feet before he arrived however, Ramirez saw Rays catcher Curt Casali with the ball in his possession and the White Sox shortstop tried unsuccessfully to avoid the tag with a swim move.
“You have to make a quick decision,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I wasn’t surprised he sent me home because you have to be ready for that. It was just the way the play goes, and it didn’t work out for us.
“I saw the catcher caught the ball when he three feet ahead of me, and I just tried to avoid the tag but he got me.
“Baseball is a tough sport.”
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LaRoche advanced to second on the play, and Leury Garcia took over as a pinch runner. But Garcia didn’t leave second as Boxberger struck out Avisail Garcia and Carlos Sanchez lined out to right to end the game.
“It’s always a tough call,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s a tough decision, and I know Joe is always aggressive and you’ve got to make the guy throw you out. I think Alexei probably got a late jump on that and by the time he gets there and you’re sending him or you’re not sending him — it’s always a tough call. Now that you know that he’s out, you can always look at it like that. But we’ve scored a lot of runs sending a guy and making them make a play.”
McEwing didn’t put any of the blame on Ramirez for waiting for the ball to clear.
“It’s a broken bat, and his first instinct is to freeze, freeze, freeze and it’s the right instinct,” McEwing said. “Like I said, I made a terrible decision to send him there. Instead of having first and third with nobody out, now we have a guy on second with one out. Like I said, it was a terrible decision and one I’ll take on.”