ANAHEIM – There’s always a surprise waiting for a team when a 162-game seasons starts that you might not have expected in spring training.
That’s certainly been the case for the White Sox, who right now are starting one of the hottest hitters in all of Major League Baseball – and it’s not who you were probably thinking before the first series of the year in Anaheim began.
In fact, Yermin Mercedes wasn’t even in the White Sox starting lineup on Opening Night, but when he got in on Friday, he made sure he would stay.
After going 5-for-5 on Friday night as the designated hitter, Mercedes opened Saturday’s contest with a trio of hits to extend his hitting streak to eight-consecutive at-bats.
By doing so, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first player in the modern era of Major League Baseball (since 1900) to start a season by going 8-for-8.
Mercedes started things off in a big way as he hit his first career homer to left field in the second inning to give the White Sox the lead. He’d get a single in the top of the fourth inning then in the sixth added a two-run double to get his eighth-straight hit to set the MLB record.
A bid to go 4-for-4 on the evening was stopped in the eighth when Anaheim relief pitcher Tony Watson got Mercedes to fly out to center field.
Unfortunately, his effort wouldn’t be enough for the White Sox, as a late lead once again got away in the eighth inning. Evan Marshall yielded a run-scoring triple to Jared Walsh then a two-run home to Justin Upton, which helped the Angels to a 5-3 victory and a second win in the series.
Mercedes will be back in the White Sox starting lineup again tonight, hoping to continue his incredible start to the 2021 season.