TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays were not officially formed when Julian Merweather showed up at Yankee Stadium for the opening game of the season on Thursday morning.
By the afternoon, he had thrown the 99-mile fastballs into the hands of Giancarlo Stanton, spotted changes in the lower edge of the strike zone and threw sliders to the so-called strikes. It only took 11 pitches to quickly get out of the middle of the Yankees lineup, and all of a sudden, it’s easy to dream of the ability of a pitcher that was not heard at all during spring training.
99 with a late life from Julian Merriweather today pic.twitter.com/wGplApFpMU
– Ben Nicholson-Smith (nicbnicholsonsmith) April 2, 2021
“At the moment, being at Yankee Stadium was very surreal,” Merryweather later said. “It’s like little league dreams right there.”
For Merweather, that first saving marks an industry milestone. For Blue Jay, the way he got there was just as important as the end result. He has the ability to combine speed, movement and command with some pitchers like he did on Thursday afternoon and contribute to a more efficient innings as long as he is healthy enough to maintain this.
As one MLP scout said, “Dominate straight.”
“He’s got stuff,” manager Charlie Montoyo added. “If he’s healthy, he’s going to help us all year. We know what he can do. He did it (Thursday). It’s not getting more energy than he did.”
While some pitchers shrink their skills while pitching in relief, Merryweather used three pitches against the Yankees to balance with offerings at 78.7 mph and 99.1 mph in the middle of their lineup. Not even in the middle of the New York lineup did all of his pitches respond to him on a working day.
Toronto Blue Zeus Pitcher Julian Meryweather figures out against New York Yankees Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and Clipper Torres on April 1, 2021.
“I feel good, I’m confident in everything,” Merriweather, who was named nominee for Josh Donaldson in 2018. “It was all good in the game to come together and feel like a bulb.”
It was a significant development for a team that had lost Kirby Yates, who was close to Tommy John’s surgery, especially after a spring when Merryweather’s condition was uncertain, with the backbone limiting him to two Grape League appearances. While this was a very significant development for the field staff on Thursday, it was not the only one.
With Tyler returning to the Chatwood side with a runner in the sixth inning of the tie, Montoya showed the right-handed player was comfortable using it in high-capacity locations. This time the action worked because Chadwood escaped without allowing any runs and topped with a speed of 95.1 mph through his fastball.
Chadwood ran a hitter before escaping trouble, but David Phelps always called the following innings closer when allowing two wins before escaping with a double. Its value is that Phelps averaged 91.5 mph with its fastball, up from 94.1 mph a year earlier.
Like all of these teams in the game of baseball, the Blue Zeus will be looking for answers on their pulpit for most of the season. With this in mind, they recently contacted left-handed player Mike Montgomery, who became a free agent after hearing he was released from the Mets late last month. Montgomery, a veteran of six major-league seasons, has elaborated as a starter and reliever on his way to a 3.84 ERA lifetime.
Of course Blue Zeus checks multiple players, and interest is not always equal to contracts, but this is a probable possibility because by converting Yates to 60 days the front office can open up to 40 people. Injured list.
It is mostly imaginary. On the other hand, Merweather’s performance against the Yankees is very real. Like last month, there is reason to be cautious in setting workload expectations for a pitcher who has struggled with injuries for most of his career. But as long as Merryweather likes it like this, Blue Zeus makes a difference with things that are enough to rest the game’s best hitters.
“I’m always open to what role they’re going to use me in, it’s a starting player, a long relief guy in the extra innings,” he said. “It’s about getting ready for the whole game.”