Monday afternoon was blessed with two of baseball’s quirkiest traditions: morning baseball and position players pitching. The Boston Red Sox hosted the Chicago White Sox on Patriots Day at Fenway Park, with an 11 am first pitch that usually coincides with the running of the Boston Marathon.
With no Marathon due to the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic (it’s set to run in the fall) baseball was the star of the show, and Boston earned a split of the four-game series by jumping all over Chicago ace Lucas Giolito for six runs in the first inning, washing him out of the game in the second inning after getting just three outs. It was a laugher on a great morning/afternoon for baseball in Boston, and it got even more hilarious in the seventh inning when Tony LaRussa started throwing position players into the game to pitch.
THE YERMINATOR IS THE LATEST
( (> PLAYER
<) )> PITCHING
— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 19, 2021
With the score 10-4, DH Yermín Mercedes made his first ever pitching appearance for the White Sox in the seventh inning. Mercedes was a curious choice for the role, especially considering he’s been one of the best hitters in the AL early this season. It was actually his first ever Major League appearance in the field, as he had just one plate appearance last season after eight seasons in the minors before this spring.
— MLB Dominicana (@MLBDominicana) April 19, 2021
Mercedes got into a bit of trouble but only gave up one run, getting some help from a lineout that became a double play. It was a bit odd to go to a position player this early in the game, but it was weird circumstances for Chicago on the morning after a 7-inning doubleheader with the starter going just 1+ inning. Which is why LaRussa went with another position player in the eighth. Danny Mendick came to the mound in the bottom half of the inning, which is where the real fun started. His first pitch? A 60 MPH “changeup” that actually plunked Marwin González. It was hilarious.
Danny Mendick plunks Marwin Gonzalez with vicious pitch. pic.twitter.com/wyGuNJuB8u
— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) April 19, 2021
The “uh oh” on the White Sox broadcast had some real Carl Lewis vibes to it, which basically sums up the day pitching for the White Sox. González could have absolutely gotten out of the way, but the pitch floated in there from way out of the strike zone so he may have just been surprised it broke as much as it did because it was moving so slowly. But while it was an inauspicious start for Mendick, he got through a scoreless inning and Chicago didn’t have to send another pitcher out in the 11-4 loss. Mendick did get a nice strikeout on a 64 MPH pitch, though, and they tossed the ball into the dugout for a nice souvenir there.
Danny Mendick, Overpowering 64mph Pitch…right down the Mendick. pic.twitter.com/SKozTwjLyI
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 19, 2021
In any event, morning baseball continues to be just delightful. See you all next Patriots Day.