In a 16-4 blowout win for the Chicago White Sox, designated hitter Yermin Mercedes crushed a home run off Twins “pitcher” Willians Astudillo who lobbed a slowball in a 3-0 count. Astudillo is of course not an actual pitcher but a position player put in in the blowout game. Unfortunately, some people think that Mercedes broke some “unwritten” rules.
Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox did absolutely nothing wrong.
First of all, unwritten rules aren’t really a real thing. If it’s not in the official MLB rulebook, then it’s not actually a rule that has to be followed in order for the White Sox to win. That being said, I don’t really see how he did anything wrong. If MLB teams don’t like giving up even more runs in a blowout, then they should either institute a mercy rule or pitch better.
If the Twins were sick of playing the game, they could have simply forfeited to save pitchers. Instead, they made a joke of the game by bringing a position player who can’t even throw 50 MPH in to pitch. Mercedes took that joke over the center-field wall.
The Twins putting Astudillo in to pitch was them not trying their best. When Mercedes hit a homer, he was trying his best. The Twins took the game less seriously than the White Sox, so in my opinion, it’s actually them who disrespected the game and not the Sox.
There’s also the issue of Mercedes swinging on a 3-0 count. Honestly, who cares. Is there a rule that says you have to play for walks? Now, if Mercedes had swung on a 3-0 pitch from a Hall of Fame closer and took him deep, then I could see how people might find that disrespectful to the game.
Astudillo isn’t even a real pitcher, so who cares what he thinks. This isn’t shattering the confidence of some poor rookie or disrespecting a legend, he’s just a position player who shouldn’t be pitching in the first place. If the Minnesota Twins don’t like that, they should put in a better pitcher.
In the game of baseball today, it’s not just about wins and losses. Statistics matter more than ever, especially for position players. For a guy like Yermin, every statistic counts from all-star appearances, rookie of the year voting, future contracts, and playing time.
He needs his numbers to be as good as possible. Baseball writers regularly punish players for falling a few home runs short of a “milestone”. For example, Fred McGriff hit 493 home runs but isn’t in the hall of fame because he didn’t hit seven more. A walk is as good as a single but it’s not as good as a home run.
Unfortunately, a few people seem to have a problem with what Mercedes did, including manager Tony La Russa. I’ve been a defender of Tony but him saying that Yermin made a “mistake” is unacceptable. You have to have your player’s backs.
It would be nice if La Russa had cared about written rules as much as unwritten ones and had told Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco to stop doing steroids. McGwire disrespected the game by ruining the record book far more than Yermin Mercedes did for hitting a 3-0 ball out of the yard.
As for the Minnesota Twins, they should spend more time trying to not get swept by the Yankees in the playoffs every year, rather than blow out baseball games in the middle of May. Of course, the Twins probably won’t contend this year so they’re better off trading their pieces for pitchers who can face the Sox instead of Willians Astudillo.