CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Indians announced earlier this week that Ryan Merritt, the rookie who has pitched just 11 innings in his MLB career, would be starting an ALCS game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Merritt is a relative unknown, a mystery who has never faced off against anyone he will be pitching against in Game 5 Wednesday afternoon.
Here is what we do know about Merritt.
1. He grew up in Texas.
The 24-year-old grew up in McKinney, TX and attended McLennan Community College in Waco, where he was an All-American.
2. Merritt will be the least-experienced starter in LCS history...
With only eleven innings under his belt, Merritt is the least-experienced starter in LCS history, and the least experienced in any round since Matt Moore for the Rays in Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS against the Rangers. Moore pitched seven scoreless innings.
3. ... But the Indians did win the only game that he started.
The Indians won 7-2 in the one game he started, a Sept. 30 outing against the Kansas City Royals. Reliever Dan Otero notes that the game was a big part of the team getting home-field advantage.
"He won that big game for us in Kansas City, when home-field was kind of on the back burner for us," said Otero. "He gave us those five good innings against Kansas City and we started to think, 'OK, maybe we can get the home-field, after all.'"
4. He wasn't originally on the ALCS roster.
Merritt didn't make it onto the roster until Trevor Bauer's drone injury; initially, his spot was set to be filled by reliever Joseph Colon. However, after Bauer's injury, the Indians decided to swap in Merritt, who had spent the fall pitching in the instructional league in Arizona.
5. He's engaged.
Merritt revealed to reporters earlier this week that he's engaged. His fiancee Sarah, who, according to Facebook, works at Heartlight Ministries, will be in attendance at Game 5.
6. He likes to play "Clash of Clans."
Merritt's teammates revealed that the pitcher is a big fan of the video game "Clash of Clans," and its a part of his strategy for focusing during big moments.
"He just wants to play 'Clash of Clans' and tune the world out," said teammate Cody Anderson.
According to Merritt's bio on the Indians website, he also enjoys hunting and fishing in the off-season.
7. His favorite team growing up was the Texas Rangers.
Merritt says his favorite team growing up was the Texas Rangers, while his favorite player was pitcher Nolan Ryan.
8. Baseball wasn't the only sport he played in high school.
Merritt, who graduated from Celina High School in 2010, played both baseball and football while a student.
9. His teammates call him their "secret weapon."
Merritt's teammates seem pretty sure that the rookie will be able to do well for them in Game 5, saying that his status as an unknown could be what makes him great.
"He's our secret weapon," backup catcher Chris Gimenez said. "Just because he's unknown. If there's one guy that's not going to be rattled by the situation, it's him. To him, it's just another day."
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