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Francisco Lindor had the big hit, Tylor Megill bridges the rotation as the Mets squeak out a win
The Mets continued to struggle offensively, but one hit made all of the difference around strong work from the pitching staff
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets came from behind and defeated the Nationals 3-2 in Washington on Friday (Box)
Francisco Lindor provided the offense for the Mets - it came on a bases-clearing single in the sixth inning
Tylor Megill gave the Mets five solid innings, allowing only two runs while navigating four walks
The bullpen (Jeff Brigham, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, and Drew Smith) combined for four shutout innings of relief
The Mets continued to struggle offensively outside of Lindor’s big hit - they went 1-for-9 with RISP and left ten runners on-base
The Mets earned their tenth comeback win of the season, improved to 18-0 when leading after eight innings, 8-6 in the NL East, 6-18 when the opponent scores first, and 6-6 in one-run games
Who’s Hot 🔥
David Robertson has allowed only one run in 15 appearances all season, striking out 36.9% of the batters he’s faced in 2023
Drew Smith has held the opponent scoreless in 13 of his first 16 appearances in 2023, allowing just three runs in 14.1 IP in 2023
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (19-20) @ Nationals (16-22)
Where: Nationals Park - Washington DC
Starters: LHP Joey Lucchesi (1-0, 4.43 ERA) vs RHP Trevor Williams (1-1, 4.25 ERA)
When: 4:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Wins are wins, even if they’re not pretty… ✍🏼
Wins are wins, right?
It wasn’t pretty by any means, of course. The Mets singles-hitting attack resulted in more runners left on-base and many, many MANY missed opportunities. And for a while, it looked like it was going to be more of the same last night, didn’t it?
But one single made all of the difference.
Lindor to the rescue!
It was Francisco Lindor who provided the offense on a single to center with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. The situation with the count at 3-2, two outs and the runners in motion is what enabled three runs to come in, with Lindor’s soft single creating the necessary time for Brandon Nimmo to score all the way from first.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on offensively around that single for the Mets. In fact, the Mets netted only one extra-base hit on the night, that which came off the bat of Mark Canha to help setup Lindor’s game-changing single.
For Lindor, this season is almost mirroring his start from 2022. He’s not hitting for average, not getting on-base very much but driving in runs at a high rate. He now has 30 through the team’s first 39 games.
For context, Lindor was hitting .231/.329/.395 through his first 39 games in 2022, compared to .223/.314/.426 through the first 39 games of this season. So, his numbers are a little down from that at this time last year, but not too far off given the sample size.
The peripheral numbers suggest Lindor should come around, as he did last year. Right now, the Mets need that more than ever with Pete Alonso still trying to find that consistency and the rest of the lineup (outside of Brandon Nimmo) simply not functioning on all (or really, any) cylinders through the first 25% of the season.
No leaks from the Big Drip
This was a good matchup for Tylor Megill on Friday, with several right handed hitters sprinkling the Nationals’ lineup. Historically, left-handed hitters have smoked Megill but the splits aren’t quite like that through the first part of this year for him. In fact, lefties have posted a .712 OPS against him this season, compared to his .885 OPS-against in his career.
He had pretty good speed differential on his fastball last night but didn’t get any swings-and-misses with that pitch. His equalizer was his curveball and perhaps his most effective pitch last night - he induced nine swings with that pitch, of which 78% of them were missed.
Megill’s biggest problem are the walks. He walked four in five innings last night and he’s walking 4.9 batters per nine innings in 2023. That’s entirely too much and a main reason his season has been up-and-down so far in 2023, nearly double from what it was a year ago.
Again, if history is any suggestion, Megill will find that command and he will be less erratic, more effective and more reliable over the course of the year. With David Peterson off to a horrific start, it’s Megill’s time to shine. He has work to do but he has a chance to be a quality mid-rotation pitcher if he can corral his command.
If you’re one who believes the Mets are treading water (fair to say with the multiple wild cards), then it’s easy to conclude that the bullpen is what’s keeping them afloat. The unit has a 3.78 ERA and it really put the team on its shoulders last night with four scoreless behind Megill.
Statistically, the Mets haven’t missed a beat without Edwin Díaz. However, his presence is most definitely missing and it has unquestionably changed the formula for the Mets down there, creating an undebatable weakness late in games on paper.
However, so far in 2023 anyway, both David Robertson and Drew Smith have really stepped up down there and stabilized what was undoubtedly a crack in the bullpen’s core heading into the year.
Robertson specifically has been more or less lights out, although he did have to dance around a bit of wildness last night.
As for Smith, he’s living the high life off his fastball. His hard hit rate isn’t particularly good which suggests if his other pitches don’t round into form, he could eventually run into trouble. But for now, whatever he’s doing is working and really lifting the Mets bullpen.
Win a series?
The Mets have lost five straight series. They’re 19-20 and have lost 13 of their last 18 games. And the majority of those 18 games have come against what you would think are second-division teams.
That’s not acceptable. Not for this team, not for this roster.
Yes, the pitching has been banged up, but for anyone who believes a prospect here or an acquisition there is going to come in and suddenly turn this ship around, well, no.
That help is going to come from within. Its going to come from Alonso, Canha, Lindor, Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar.
If it doesn’t? Well, you’ve seen that movie before.
But they have a chance change the tone and tenor of the team if they can get two of the next three in Washington. Yes, it’s against the Nationals but right now, that doesn’t matter. The Mets need to find their swagger, they need good things to happen and they need to get that mojo which has been missing since that Dodger series last September back.
Does that happen today?
Around the League 🚩
Cedric Mullins hit for the Cycle in the Orioles’ 6-3 win over the Pirates on Friday
The Blue Jays shutout the Braves 3-0 behind a complete game, two-hit shutout from Chris Bassitt
Mike Trout doubled in the ninth inning to spark a two-run comeback rally for the Angels in their 5-4 win over the Guardians
Julio Rodriguez drove in four runs as part of the Mariners’ 9-2 rout of the Tigers
The Astros will be without Michael Brantley for a while as he deals with shoulder inflammation (Houston Chronicle)
The Rays shutdown Drew Rasmussen for two months as he deals with a flexor strain (TB Times)