After going 5-for-5 in his first big-league start Friday night, Tony LaRussa seemingly had no choice but to put Yermin Mercedes back in the line up as the DH, and he picked up where he left off Saturday night in his 2nd start. Unfortunately, the 8th inning got the best of the Sox bullpen, and they let another late lead slip away to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Yermin Mercedes kept the folks over at Elias Sports Bureau busy the last two nights, as he followed up his 5-for-5 effort Friday night with hits in his first three at-bats to start the season 8-for-8, and in the process, became the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to accomplish that feat. He finally recorded an out in the 8th inning on a flyout to center field. proving that Mercedes is mortal, after all. He also hit his first big-league home run, and gave the Sox the lead in the sixth with an RBI double.
There was plenty of intrigue in Spring Training about the Sox decision to put Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet in the bullpen, but thus far, it’s proved to be a good decision, as Crochet pitched 2.1 perfect innings of relief and held the lead that Mercedes provided with his double in the sixth inning.
For all the good that was expected of this bullpen, the 8th inning has proven to be a bugaboo for the relief corps in the early going this year. This time, Evan Marshall was tasked with holding the lead, and he was unable to do so. He surrendered an RBI triple to Ian Walsh to tie the game, and Justin Upton followed that up with a 2-run home run to put the Angels ahead by two.
Additionally, the defense committed two more errors, which cost Lance Lynn a pair of runs and Luis Robert a headache. Robert should have caught a routine fly ball, but the ball bounced off his glove, then his head, and that allowed the inning to continue (there were 2 out on that play) and the Angels capitalized once again. The defense has to get better at some point, or it’s going to cost the Sox at the least the division, if not a playoff spot altogether.
The Sox and Angels will conclude this four-game set on ESPN in the season’s first Sunday Night Baseball broadcast of the year, and Dylan Cease will get the ball, opposite Shohei Ohtani.