Megill's dominance continues, Mets end their skid and breaking down The Good Reliever
Tylor Megill dazzles again to help end the club's two-game slide. Plus, a breakdown of an unheralded Mets reliever.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Phillies by a score of 2-0 on Tuesday night in Philadelphia (box)
RHP Tylor Megill dominated once again, allowing zero runs on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 5.1 innings
CF Brandon Nimmo hit his first home run of the season
RHP Edwin Díaz returned from the bereavement list to notch his first save of the year
Prior to the game, RHP Taijuan Walker was placed on the IL with right shoulder bursitis
No. 1 prospect Francisco Álvarez went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in Double-A Binghamton
Roster Moves 📰
RHP Edwin Díaz was activated off the bereavement list, replacing RHP Taijuan Walker who was placed on the 10-day injured list
RHP Tylor Megill has now gone 10.1 innings in two starts this season without allowing a single run
SS Francisco Lindor is now 3-for-6 with RISP this season
RHP Drew Smith acted as the team’s firefighter on Tuesday night, striking out three while allowing just one base runner over 1.1 innnings pitched
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (4-2) vs. Phillies (3-2)
Where: Citizens Bank Park — Philadelphia, PA
Starters: Max Scherzer (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (1-0, 6.00 ERA)
When: 1:05 PM EST
Where to Watch: SNY
It’s time to talk about Drew Smith: The Good Reliever 📝
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five years since the Mets acquired Drew Smith in exchange for Lucas Duda.
If yomu remember, Duda was once referred to several Mets fans as “The Good First Baseman,” a monicker given to him for being an underrated but incredibly productive player for a contending club. Now, several years later, perhaps we should start referring to his replacement as The Good Reliever.
For years now, Drew Smith has flown under the radar in a Mets bullpen that hasn’t had much to hang their hat on — especially when it comes to relievers they’ve developed in the minor leagues. Several other relief pitchers they acquired in salary dump trades and attempted to develop over the years — Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, Steven Nogosek, Jacob Rhame and Ryder Ryan — never put it together and only one even remains in the organization today.
But all along Drew Smith has been there, developing over the course of several years, honing his craft and showing flashes in the limited amount of major league opportunities he was given.
From 2018-20, Smith threw just 35 innings in the major leagues due lack of usage and Tommy John surgery during the 2018-19 offseason.
In 2021, Smith finally started to get a true shot at the big league level and took advantage of it. In 41 innings last season, Smith posted a 2.40 ERA with a 90.1 left-on-base percentage and a 0.8 bWAR. He utilized his fastball and cutter the most of his four-pitch repertoire, throwing them for a combined 87.8 percent of the time last season and while holding hitters to a .198 batting average.
Now, with a coaching regime change, it appears as if Smith has earned the trust of his manager more than ever before. This was on display no more than on Tuesday night vs Philadelphia.
After blowing back-to-back games in the ‘pen, and clinging to a one-run lead late vs. a powerful lineup in a bandbox of a ballpark, Buck Showalter brought Smith into the fire, asking him to record five outs in the 7th and 8th innings.
After allowing a double to the first batter he faced, Smith dialed in, freezing Rhys Hoskins on a nasty slider — a pitch he’s revamped this season — and striking out Didi Gregorius on 97 MPH fastball. Leading off the 8th inning, Smith blew another 97 MPH fastball by Alec Bohm for his third consecutive strikeout. He quickly recorded the final two outs after that, ending his eye-opening night.
Early on this season, Smith’s fastball is averaging a few ticks higher than it had in previous seasons (up from 95.1 MPH from 2020-21 to 95.6 MPH) and has been topping out at 97 MPH several times, making it the hardest he’s thrown since undergoing Tommy John surgery three years ago. He’s also pumping in his cutter quite a bit, which is averaging an 200-plus more revolutions per minute than it did one season ago.
“I’ve got to get on the Megill program,” Smith said in regards to attempting to surpass 97 on the radar gun. “A Red Bull and two Advils. That’s what he said works for him.”
With the issues New York’s bullpen has faced very early on in the 2022 season, there’s every chance that Smith will get more opportunities to prove himself this year. As long as he stays healthy, last year’s success and the peripheral numbers would indicate that he will continue to open eyes and, perhaps, eventually be a mainstay for this club in high-leverage situations as he was on Tuesday night.
Since Seth Lugo transitioned to the bullpen in 2017, the Mets have had major difficulty developing relief pitchers from within their own organization at the major league level. Perhaps they’ve finally hit on one again. And if they have, I will officially request that Drew Smith only be referred to as The Good Reliever.
Around the League 🚩
Nationals RF Juan Soto became just the 7th active player to hit his 100th career home run at age 23 or younger
Albert Pujols hit his first home run since returning to the Cardinals in the team’s 6-5 win over the Royals
Cubs OF Seiya Suzuki hit two home runs in the club’s 2-1 win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and became the first player in MLB history to record eight-plus RBI with four-plus walks in their first four career games
The Yankees broke their two-game skid with a 4-0 win over the Blue Jays
Guardians rookie CF Steven Kwan has reached base safely 18 times in his first five games, an MLB record