One of the former slogans for Mercedes-Benz was “the best or nothing,” but one opening week MLB stat took that tagline to a new extreme
Chicago White Sox rookie Yermin Mercedes rapped eight hits in his first eight at-bats, marking the most consecutive hits to begin a season in baseball’s modern era since 1900.
The 28-year-old Mercedes, who had one previous major-league plate appearance in 2020, went 5-for-5 (four singles and a double) as Chicago’s designated hitter on Friday. He added three more hits (a home run, a single and a double) as the DH again Saturday before flying out to center field in his fourth trip.
“I never imagined that. It is great for me,” Mercedes said after Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Angels. “Now, it’s a new day for me. I want to keep doing well and work with my approach. I want to play every day and I’m excited for that.”
Mercedes, listed as a catcher and first baseman, had played in the Washington and Baltimore organizations before signing with Chicago in 2018.
Eloy Jimenez’s pectoral injury opened up playing time, and White Sox manager Tony La Russa has liked Mercedes’ approach at the plate. Five of his eight hits have come with two strikes.
“All of his hits have been clutch and he has been putting us in position to try to win,” La Russa said.
Mercedes also was the first player since 1933 – Washington’s Cecil Travis – to register five hits in his first career start.
“I’m just trying to wait for my pitch and not do too much,” he said. “Just stay right there and swing hard. It doesn’t matter if it is two strikes or no strikes, I just want to see the ball.”