Fresh off his promotion to the big leagues, San Diego Padres catcher Francisco Mejia had an unforgettable night in Cincinnati.
Thursday night was supposed to be all about Opening Night of the National Football League. A game between the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, with a 3:30 pm (PT) start time wasn’t on the forefront of many people’s minds. That was until recently acquired catching prospect Francisco Mejia took his position behind home plate in his first start with the San Diego Padres.
The night started out innocently enough with Mejia and his fellow rookie battery mate, Eric Lauer, working well together to get through two scoreless frames. Mejia even got in on a failed bunt attempt that went off into foul territory, tracking down the ball and making the catch. Nothing too fancy, just showing off a little bit of his quickness.
The rookie catcher wasted no time introducing himself to Luis Castillo and Padres fans everywhere, sending a 96 mph, 1-0 fastball the opposite way into the bleachers (395 feet at 103 mph, per Statcast). The solo home run was the first hit for Mejia in his Padres career.
He wasn’t satisfied with just one home run. Mejia came up to bat again in the fourth inning after Hunter Renfroe hit a home run to make it 2-0 and Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers reached base to put two runners on with two outs (after a Franmil Reyes strikeout).
Again, Mejia wasted no time at the plate, sending the first pitch he saw in the at-bat, a 97 mph fastball, deep into right field with the help of one of the quickest swings Padres fans have seen all season. The low and inside heater quickly found its way into the bleachers, giving the Padres a 5-0 lead.
I know Mark Grant loves his “LAUNCH ANGLE” but by God that “BAT SPEED!” Sure, he would fail to reach base in his final two at-bats, but the damage was already done.
The Padres would go on to win the contest 6-2 behind an impressive performance by Eric Lauer who gave up just two hits and three walks across four innings. He tied his career-high in strikeouts with eight.
Game two of the series will take place on Friday at 3:40 pm PT. Brett Kennedy will take the mound for the San Diego Padres as they try to make it two in a row in this four-game set against the Reds.