Opening Day is great in theory, but not always great in practice. Especially if you go to the ballpark. Why? You realize that it’s amateur hour, with people who never go to a ballgame making a holiday out of it. And by that I mean that they drink until they’re blind and generally act like jerks.
Go read DesigNate Roberton’s post about yesterday’s Opening Day in Detroit and you’ll find exactly that scene. He called it “a miserable experience from beginning to end,” and I have to agree with him.
Viva mid-June weeknight games with the park half full of people who know the hell what they’re doing.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.