Indians

The Ryan Merritt Game, Indians to World Series: Ball Played

Charlie Riedel, AP
Charlie Riedel, AP

There have been many final nails in the coffin of the Cleveland Indians 2016 season. Be it Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer’s pinky, the balance of the Boston Red Sox, or the scorching bats (and superior starting pitching) of the Toronto Blue Jays. Each time the team has been allegedly killed off and buried for good, the Tribe has wandered around as unkillable zombies who didn’t realize that their existance defies all logic and common sense. Yes, exactly four months to the day after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship, the Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays to win the AL pennant and head to the World Series!

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Some might whine and complain; making excuses anytime a pitch or play doesn’t quite go their way. The people who shrug off circumstances to focus on what is yet to come are those who tend to succeed the most. The Indians could have allowed doubt to seep into the clubhouse at many points, but the Tribe instead utilized each potentially tragic event as a rallying cry to push them forward in the chase to end Cleveland’s 68 year baseball championship drought.

Time to get offensive

Carlos Santana has not had the easiest relationship with the Cleveland fanbase. Many love him, others don’t understand why someone with such a poor batting average that took years to find a decent defensive position should be lauded. Santana just kept working and improving leading into a career year in 2016 as he continues to solidify his place as an all-time great in the history of the Indians franchise.

Joel Skinner is decried in Cleveland not only because his stop sign denied the Indians a chance at scoring a crucial run in 2007 that could have led the team to the World Series. He is still meme’d because he also denied Kenny Lofton his moment in his swan song season upon returning to the Indians at 40 years old. Coco Crisp has found a way to ensure no third base coach can deny his chances.

Ryan Merritt coming into the game

Just a Texas boy like Josh Tomlin before him. He’s too small they said. He can’t throw it fast enough they said. He’s not a real prospect came the shouts. Yet, Merritt had success at every level and continued to advance through the system. Perhaps his future in MLB is limited due to the lack of ceiling that other prospects have. Let us not forget the only reason he received a chance to even be on the ALCS roster was due to Trevor Bauer slicing open his pinky finger.

However, none of it stopped the rookie from making his SECOND EVER MLB START be one that clinched the AL pennant with 4.1 innings pitched of shutout ball.

Pick No. 488 from a community college is not supposed to get to MLB at all, let alone have this type of success this quickly.

Not only did Merritt only have 11.1 innings pitched going into Game 5 of the ALCS, but he had only thrown 127 MLB pitches.

A true soft-tossing lefty that prospect insiders would never put high on thier lists.

Of course, there was good news before the game about the Toronto Blue Jays facing limited velocity pitchers.

Oh? More good news? It is almost as if Terry Francona analyzed the data and planned Merritt to be a starter based on that knowledge.

Gametime Merritt

Told ya’ he threw slow. Jered Weaver would be proud. Starting pitchers from the 1980s had a tear in their eye remembering their glory years.

Shake it off. Shake it off. Oh, woo wooo.1

Oh, you want to see what happened?

A big question going into the night was if Merritt could keep a low enough pitch count to get through the early innings and bridge the game to the dominant Tribe bullpen.

An incredible and efficient outing. Being able to throw strikes is huge for young pitchers. Merritt has that done.

Merritt potential memes

Looking for a way to show appreciation for your new favorite Texan? Well, Ryan Merritt is engaged. And, he is registered at Target. Because, of course he is.

Or, maybe not.

No, no, no. It IS his wedding registry. Get them something nice.

Caption This:

Ain’t no shaking in dem boots.

Victor Memes

Bring on the Dodgers! (or the Cubs)

  1. Dang it Jacob! []

  • Eric G

    Can we not call it “4.1 innings pitched of shutout ball?” Maybe something like “4.1 innings of two-hit, 3-strikeout domination”

  • mgbode

    New Rule: games with a SP who pitch a shutout but in not enough innings to win are referred to as a “Merritt”

    In Game 3, Bauer pitched a Merritt

  • Hopwin

    *closes the book on ALCS*

    What’s next?

    Seriously how much fun was it to watch yesterday and know 100% that the outcome was never in doubt? My heart skipped a beat when during Shaw’s first inning, but basically from pitch one through Santana’s catch there was just no question about the game.

  • Steve

    You know as great as all the narratives of the season were, and as much as they overcame the injuries at the end of the season, I think what’s getting a little bit lost is just how effing good of a team that was built. This wasn’t the Major League squad of misfits that all came together, and are likely to crash back to reality next. There was a ton of talent on the roster, and a ton of shrewd roster-building over the years that led to this, and set this team up to contend for a while.

  • JNeids

    “set this team up to contend for a while.”

    I know Napoli is a free agent, but there was mention that both sides are interested in another deal. Aside from that, who else might we lose? I don’t think the list is long. So on top of a World Series roster, we are going to add Michael Brantley (hopefully, please please please), Yan Gomes (trade chip? I think the team likes what it has in Perez if he can pick it up at the dish a little), and two top arms in Cookie and Salazar.

    HELLO MULTI-SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP WINDOW!

  • mgbode

    Rajai and his AL-leading SB crown is an UFA as well

  • Hopwin

    I think Santana is up too.

  • JM85

    I loved Kipnis before and love him even more now. The trolling of Bautista was glorious and deserved.

  • jpftribe

    Santana has a club option for like $12m. Be surprised if they did not pick that up.

  • mgbode

    Best hitter on the team in 2016; guaranteed pickup. Worst case, they flip him on a team-friendly contract (but WHY would they do that…they’ll keep him)

  • chrisdottcomm

    “Best hitter on the team in 2016”

    #1 in the charts and #1 in our hearts… well, my heart.

    ….just don’t tell Los about my late night chats with Frankie please and thank you.

  • Hopwin

    On an $86m roster i would disagree but the lack of available free agents this offseason is shocking.

  • mgbode

    Indians ended year w/ ~$105m roster depending on where you allot some of their “dead” monies

  • jpftribe

    And revenues from 3 post season series, a pickup in season tickets and bigger gates next year. I don’t expect the Dolans to change their philosophy because it’s not just bad business, it’s bad baseball. But exercising market or below club options is right in their wheelhouse. Santana would draw a big multi-year deal in the open market. If they didn’t think they could sign him, he’d be trade bait at the deadline.