According to Jason Benetti, the Angels never lose on Mike Trout Bobblehead Night — not exactly the vote of confidence the White Sox were looking for coming off a loss.
However, can I raise you a historic night from Yermín Mercedes?
The White Sox started off a bit bumpy, but managed to oust starting pitcher Andrew Heaney by the fourth after five runs (four of which came courtesy of a Pito-slam). Let’s get to some highlights, shall we?
Is it too early for a patented Dallas Keuchel Locker Room Lecture™ ?
A Shohei Ohtani hit pinballing around right field and a bungled Trout grounder did not make for a great start for our boys. Luckily, they were able to turn a double play and get themselves out of a sticky first inning pretty quick.
The constant reminder on the broadcast by Steve Stone that the visibility in Anaheim is not great rings a bit hollow when he and Jason are in a broadcast booth in Chicago. I guess technically he is right, since it was 9:00 p.m. Chicago time when Steve made this observation.
Adam Eaton managed to do his best impression of a bumbly guy who’s never played right before by making a huge error in missing a routine fly from Anthony Rendón that led to the Angels scoring two and coming within reach of a big Sox lead at the bottom of the fifth, pushing home two and bringing the Angels within sniffing ground of the lead, at 7-6.
Occasionally making contact makes things happen
The team’s first view of Heaney was not great — a whole lot of whiffs. The second time though, we were definitely seeing much more contact and patience. A grand slam from José Abreu was the first of the 2021 season, and gave the Sox a load of momentum going in to the bottom of the third.
The first grand slam of 2021 belongs to the AL MVP. pic.twitter.com/3pYseuY3FH— MLB (@MLB) April 3, 2021
Luis Robert ended up on second during the top of the seventh on an errant throw trying to pick him off. That was where he stayed because the inning ended with a Yoán Moncada strikeout and Andrew Vaughn line out.
A home run by Tim Anderson and a two-run double by Yasmani Grandal contributed some insurance runs at the top of the ninth.
Big days for Andrew Vaughn, Yermín Mercedes, and a reliever for the Angels
Andrew Vaughn struck out in his first big league at-bat, not wholly unexpected. Vaughn managed to walk in his second appearance, take a trip around the diamond, and score on a RBI single by Adam Eaton.
Chris Rodriguez made his debut out of the bullpen for the Angels, taking over for Junior Guerra at the top of the fifth and striking out Moncada with two sliders and a 2-seam with good movement. He forced Vaughn to ground out to Rendón and had himself a quick little debut, getting out of the inning.
Mercedes, however, managed to hit a single in his first at-bat, and get a chest tap from Albert Pujols for his effort. This was Mercedes’ first MLB hit after bouncing around for a few years and ending up with the White Sox. He kept his hit streak up, going 5-for-5 and earning a spot in the history books as the first batter to go 5-for-5 in his first MLB start. The only other player in history with five hits in his first start was Cecil Travis in 1933, and he went 5-for-7. You have yourself a day, Yerminator.
Welcome back, Kopech
We saw a solid outing of relief from Michael Kopech tonight. He looks like he’s still having a little bit of control issues coming off almost two years away from throwing (understandable), but once he gets that strength back up and some innings under his belt, he should bounce back relatively well.
"Oh boy." - Jason Benetti, voicing the inner thoughts of many MLB batters to face Michael Kopech pic.twitter.com/RDxEkLoAit— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 3, 2021
He threw some high fastballs and low sliders that were unhittable, so it was a great effort from Kopech. We’re glad to see him back looking healthy.
Coors Field had a visit from a kitty in the outfield during the Rockies/Dodgers game.
According to this particular broadcast it sounds like Cody Bellinger is afraid of cats. I am waiting on confirmation of this from Dodgers Twitter.
CAT OUTBREAK AT COORS FIELD pic.twitter.com/e2j2uk4SN0— The Baseball Newsletter (@bbletter) April 3, 2021
big fan of the dodgers’ new outfielder. he has a lot of hustle. pic.twitter.com/kTV00PhRYE— Lana Berry (@Lana) April 3, 2021
Resident MLB experts the Detroit Tigers pronounced Coors cat as a Good Cat
Resident MLB feline experts here. That is a good cat.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 3, 2021
Cody Bellinger snitched and the kitty was taken away
Belli cat, Belli cat. What are they feeding you? Belli cat, Belli cat, it's not your fault. pic.twitter.com/I1ZWF48AxB— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 3, 2021
The Rockies did us all a service and gave us a gif of Coors cat
"Please post a kitty GIF"— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 3, 2021
things we never thought would come into our notifications but OK pic.twitter.com/YysznMqkad
Coors cat joins other such illustrious on-field critters like #RallyCat (Fun fact: the guy getting bit in the Royals/Cards video also got beaned in the head by an Opening Day first pitch) ...
... and Evie the Cat, who was rescued by our skipper Tony La Russa which led to him and his wife starting a non-profit to find homes for dogs and cats facing euthanasia.
That’s all, folks!
I finally got a late-night recap that wasn’t a disaster game, so I’m going to celebrate by going to bed.
Reminder: The MVP voting is now at Six Pack of Stats, so cast your ballot there.