Why am I watching this Braves-Rockies game?

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It was 23 degrees for the first pitch of the Braves-Rockies game. It’s the coldest game on record at Coors Field. And it’s the first of a day-night doubleheader. Guys are slaughtering tauntauns out there just to keep warm in between pitches.

In the fourth inning B.J. Upton struck out on a 64 m.p.h. pitch from Jeff Francis. Seconds later Chip Caray, referring to a home run by Evan Gattis — whose nickname is El Oso Blanco — said Gattis hit one “un-BEAR-ably” far.

I love my job and I love the fact that it allows me to sit here and watch baseball at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, but man, this is pretty painful at the moment. Even with my team in the lead.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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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.