April 4, 2021

Yermin Mercedes: First Player In Modern Era To Begin Season 8-For-8

After a last-place finish in 2020, and the team's worst winning percentage in the last 55 years (and second-worst since 1932), the Red Sox have begun the new season 0-3. They were swept by the Orioles 0-3, 2-4, and 3-11.

Hope spring eternal . . . but, sometimes, not for very long.

Right-hander Garrett Whitlock (#72) made his major league debut out of the bullpen in the third inning. He prevented the Orioles from adding to their 7-spot in the frame and ended up pitching 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. (He also threw two wild pitches.) . . . Christian Vázquez had three hits in Sunday's loss, half of Boston's total.

The Orioles had 17 hits at Fenway (but no home runs) for the first time since June 20, 1986

Garrett Richards is the first Boston pitcher to give up six earned runs and get fewer than six outs in his first start of a season since Steve Ontiveros on September 16, 2000.

J.D. Martinez went 6-for-12 in the series, and hit his first dong of the year. Martinez had an extra-base hit in each of the three games of the season. The only other player in Red Sox history to do that and have the team lose all three games was Mike Greenwell (1989).

Doubled In Each Of First Three Games Of A Season (Red Sox)

Ira Flagstead     1926
Mickey Vernon     1956
Bill Buckner      1986
Jose Offerman     1999
Mike Lowell       2007
Xander Bogaerts   2018
J.D. Martinez     2021

Yermin Mercedes of the White Sox began the season 8-for-8, something no player in the modern era (dating back to 1900) had ever done. Mercedes had only one major league at-bat prior to 2021. He is also the first player to bang out five hits in the first start of his career since Cecil Travis of the Senators, who went 5-for-7 on May 16, 1933, but his fifth hit came in the 10th inning.

April 2 (DH, batting 8th)
T3: Singled to center, scored run
T4: Singled to left, two RBI
T6: Singled to left
T8: Singled to right-center
T9: Doubled to left, two RBI

April 3 (DH, batting 6th)
T2: Home run to left, RBI, scored run
T4: Singled to center
T6: Doubled to left-center, RBI
T8: Flied out to deep center

Akil Baddoo of the Tigers homered on the first major league pitch of his career. He is the ninth Tigers player to homer in his first major league at-bat. Baddoo, a Rule 5 Draft pick, had not played in a game above Class A ball before Sunday.

Here is a list of 31 players who have homered on the first big-league pitch they saw, including old friend Daniel Nava, who hit a grand slam for the Red Sox on June 12, 2010. (Nava's second major league at-bat also came with the bases loaded, in the very next inning. He struck out.)

The Dodgers' first home run of the year was an opposite-field, stand-up, inside-the-park job from pinch-hitter Zach McKinstry, the first home run of his career.

The Cubs scored three runs on two hits on Thursday and four runs on three hits on Sunday. The only other teams since 1900 to have two "inverted linescores" (R > H) within their first three games of a season are the 1974 Brewers and 1978 Brewers.

1974 Brewers

  April 5
  Red Sox -  9 11  1
  Brewers -  8  6  0
  April 6
  Red Sox -  4  8  2
  Brewers -  5  4  0
1978 Brewers
  April 7
  Orioles -  3  9  2
  Brewers - 11  9  0
  April 8
  Orioles -  3  8  4
  Brewers - 16 15  1
2021 Cubs
  April 2
  Pirates -  5  9  2
  Cubs    -  3  2  0
  April 4
  Pirates -  3  7  1
  Cubs    -  4  3  0

1 comment:

FenFan said...

Sunday's affair was equally brutal from my seats at Fenway Park. Richards and Taylor looked out of sorts on the mound. They both had Vasquez crossed up on several pitches, and only a couple of nice defensive plays kept the score "reasonable." Ottavino also was unimpressive in a non-save situation. At least Whitlock looked good in his MLB debut (3.1-5-0-0-0-5).

On the bright side, the MFY lost two-of-three against the Jays.