He’d pitched in only four games in his major league career. A total of eleven innings. He was 1-0 with a really nice 1.64 ERA.
His first big league game ever came on May 30 against the Rangers in Cleveland, in a game Texas won 9-2. Coming into the game in the fourth inning with his team already down 9-0, twenty-four-year-old rookie Ryan Merritt proceeded to pitch 4.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out two. Not a bad beginning.
His next game was a perfect inning against Minnesota August 4. Then 0.2 innings September 14 against the White Sox, where he gave up his first run. Then his first and only start September 30 against the Royals where he went five innings and gave up one run.
Since then, he has been pitching simulated games in Arizona waiting for his next assignment.
That came yesterday in the playoffs.
Win this game and you pitch your team into the World Series.
All Merritt did was retire the first ten Blue Jays hitters before Josh Donaldson singled in the bottom of the fourth. He was instantly erased on a double play.
He got one more out in the fifth before leaving the game.
Nobody knew who he was when he took the mound. Nobody knew how to hit him when he was on the mound. Nobody knows if he will take the mound in the World Series.
But everybody knows his name now.
Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44) vs. Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48)
Game time: 7:08, FS1
How the Cubs hit against Maeda.
How the Dodgers hit against Lester.