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Tylor Megill survives five, more outstanding bullpen work, and well-rounded power from Mark Canha
Tylor Megill was effective over five innings as Justin Verlander's temporary replacement
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Marlins 6-2 on Saturday in Miami (Box)
Tylor Megill was able to navigate five shaky innings, allowing just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts
The Mets got four scoreless innings of relief from the bullpen, starting with Dennis Santana in the sixth, Drew Smith and Brooks Raley combined for a scoreless seventh, and Adam Ottavino and David Robertson polished the game off with two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively
Omar Narváez and Mark Canha provided the bulk of the offense - Narváez drove in the first two runs of the game for the Mets while Canha had three hits, a homer, two RBI and three runs scored
Brandon Nimmo stole his first base of the season on Saturday - he stole three all year in 2022 and didn’t take his first until September last season
Francisco Lindor made a critical defensive play in the fifth inning to save two runs
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets vs. Marlins
Where: loanDepot Park - Miami, FL
Starters: RHP Kodai Senga vs. LHP Trevor Rogers
When: 1:40 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Notes: Tylor Megill’s learning curve, trusting Buck with the bullpen, and seeking more well-rounded power from Mark Canha… ✍🏻
To me, anytime a club can win with their sixth or seventh (or eighth or ninth) starter is on the mound, it feels like a bonus.
Such was the case on Saturday with Tylor Megill on the hill for the Mets against the Marlins in Miami, a good matchup considering they have a lot of right-handed hitters and those matchups play into Megill’s strength. Righties produced just a .581 OPS against him in 2022, so it was a good spot and good timing for him to make his 2023 debut as that seventh starter for the Mets (funny, considering it was only game three).
It wasn’t the prettiest of efforts for Megill by any means. His fastball velocity was inconsistent at times and the Marlins still hit him around quite a bit despite the favorable matchup. But he was able to use his slider to get himself out of jams (and Francisco Lindor’s stepped up defense in particular to end his outing in the fifth inning).
The thing about Megill is he’s still learning. Yes, he’s been here before and it’s essentially his third big league season. But he’s now learning to pitch at 70 percent of max, meaning he is working on how to be effective at lower velocities. It’s hard for a pitcher to do that - Megill has been trained as a big arm and a high-velo guy, and we saw a dominant version of Megill with that big stuff early in the 2022 season. But it’s believed that helped contribute to his injuries last season, so this is a retraining of sorts for him and he’s being asked to learn as a (temporary) replacement to a future hall of famer. He’s going to get another chance against the Marlins next week, so it will be interesting to see the growth for him in between starts as well as the adjustments Marlins manager Skip Schumaker and the rest of the Marlins make to try and crack the Megill egg.
As for the bullpen, yesterday I questioned why Adam Ottavino wasn’t used instead of John Curtiss on Friday. Afterwards, I sort of regretted that challenge of Buck Showalter (even though they still lost), and reminded myself about the marathon that is 162 games, and Buck wanting to get everyone involved in as many roles as he can. He’s one of the best managers to ever put on a uniform, so he’s owed that trust and belief he is thinking three dimensionally with every move he makes.
On Saturday, he massaged that bullpen perfectly and they rewarded him well with four scoreless innings. I was particularly impressed with Dennis Santana, who I didn’t see much of in camp. He showed potential with his big arm, although he needs to throw more strikes early in the count. He was picked up off waivers late in camp and could be a sneaky good move for Billy Eppler if he can improve upon the 4.6 walks per nine. The Mets are going to need swing-and-miss solutions down there in the absence of Edwin Díaz, and perhaps Santana can be that guy for them.
And then there’s the Mets’ bipolar offense, which showed up against Edward Cabrera and his patented wildness on Saturday. Omar Narváez - who was brought in primarily for his defense and to better handle the pitching staff - drove in the first two runs for the club. He had a sac fly in the first and a quality, opposite field hit in the fourth to really set the tone for the the rest of the lineup.
I said it all winter - Narvaez’s value will ultimately come from his defense, pitch framing, and overall play in the battery. Anything he provides offensively is gravy, and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday. He had two functional and productive at-bats early and helped get into Miami’s bullpen, which, while improved from last year, has the meat on the bone for opposing offenses.
As for everyone else, the quality of their at-bats was better from the night before, thanks in part to Cabrera who fell behind pretty much everyone and set up the sequences favorably. Pete Alonso had a big day and put the Mets ahead for good in the fifth, and Mark Canha but a stamp on this game with two RBI of his own, one of which came on a solo homer in the seventh inning.
Canha said at the beginning of spring training he is endeavoring to hit for more power in 2023 after producing just a .403 slugging percentage in 2022. Sure, it would be nice if he hit more home runs but if he could approach 30 doubles as well and he can spread that butter evenly over 162, that could be equally as important for him and the rest of the lineup in 2023.
Up next, an attempt at their first series win of the year this afternoon. It’s Senga time, as Kodai Senga will be making his big league debut and showing off his signature “ghost fork.”
By the way, I feel like I’ve seen 100 games at Marlins Park already this year, and it’s only April 2. And, my eyes always tend to wander about 10 feet in front of the mound and to the right, and I keep thinking about, well, you know….
Around the League 🚩
The Red Sox walked off the Orioles 9-8 at Fenway Park thanks to an Adam Duvall two-run home run
Yankees phenom Anthony Volpe got his first big league hit, but the Giants beat the Yankees 7-5 in the Bronx
The Angels torched the A’s 13-1 thanks to an 11-run third inning
The Rangers torched Zack Wheeler and the Phillies 16-3 in Arlington — Mitch Garver drove in six runs thanks to a two-homer day
Mariners LHP Robbie Ray went on the injured list with a grade 1 flexor strain
Braves LHP Max Fried is going on the injured list with a hamstring injury