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.
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.
Ain’t no shaking in dem boots.
Bring on the Dodgers! (or the Cubs)
- Dang it Jacob! [↩]