After a breakout year and a stellar first half this season, Julian Merryweather introduced himself to the International League on Tuesday.
The Indians' 25th-ranked prospect allowed four hits and struck out eight over eight innings in his Triple-A debut as Columbus blanked Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 5-0, at PNC Field.
Merryweather (1-0) pitched around a baserunner in each of the first three innings as he surrendered a double to Tyler Austin in the first, a single to No. 2 Yankees prospect Clint Frazier in the second and a single to Eddy Rodriguez in the third. The right-hander settled in from there, facing one batter over the minimum over the next five frames and allowing only a single to Cito Culver in the fifth.
Gameday box score
Merryweather retired his final 10 batters, capping his night by striking out Rodriguez on three pitches to end the eighth. The eight innings matched a career high as he threw 67 of 97 pitches for strikes.
Video: Merryweather goes eight for Clippers
The 25-year-old has converted a strong first half into a midseason callup for the second year in a row. He went 8-2 with a 1.03 ERA over 61 innings in his first 11 starts last season for Class A Advanced Lynchburg, leading to a late-June promotion to Double-A Akron, where he posted a 3.89 ERA over 70 2/3 frames.
Merryweather joined Columbus after going 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA over 50 2/3 innings with the RubberDucks. At the time of his promotion, he led the Eastern League with a 0.93 WHIP and ranked third with 52 strikeouts and a .196 opponents' batting average. While his ERA was good for 11th in the league, his 2.86 FIP placed him second.
The Oklahoma Baptist University product could be a welcome addition to the Columbus rotation. The Clippers have surrendered an IL-high 60 homers while giving up the fourth-most runs (238).
Richie Shaffer helped back Merryweather as he homered, singled and plated a pair of runs. Chris Colabello and Ronny Rodriguez each chipped in an RBI.
RailRiders starter Domingo German (1-1) took the loss, surrendering five runs on seven hits while fanning four over seven innings.