Once the lockout ended, the New York Mets had some holes to fill in their roster. They addressed one big one by trading for Chris Bassitt to help round out what was supposed to be a star-studded veteran rotation with two aces in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
The Opening Day start was supposed to go to deGrom, as it should have. Unfortunately, he is injured once again and is going to miss substantial time for the second straight season. Max Scherzer was the second choice, but he was pushed back one game after dealing with hamstring tightness. The Mets wanted to keep Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker on their scheduled day, so they had to figure out a solution for Opening Day starter.
The Mets decided between David Peterson, Trevor Williams and Tylor Megill for the special start. They opted to go with Megill. This was in my opinion the obvious decision as he looked fantastic in the spring and was really solid for much of last season before wearing down towards the end.
If Tylor Megill pitches like he did on Opening Day, the loss of Jacob deGrom will not hurt the Mets nearly as much as we thought.
With Jacob deGrom missing what will likely end up being two months, I believed that took them out of contention for the National League East title. He's just impossible to replace. However, Tylor Megill tried his best to do what deGrom would've done on Opening Day, and he was pretty close to doing so.
In what was just the 19th start of his career, I believe that was the best Megill has ever looked as a Met. He went five innings allowing just three hits and striking out six batters. He threw 68 pitches in his scoreless outing and Mets victory.
What was most impressive to me was his velocity. Last season, Megill averaged 94.6 mph on his fastball. Not bad, but nothing that jumps off the screen in 2022. In this game, he was consistently hitting 97 and 98 mph on his fastball and even got up to 99 on occasion.
As the game went on his velocity did dip a little bit, but he was able to rear back and throw a 98 mph fastball by Juan Soto with runners on the corners and one man out in a game that was scoreless at the time. He then got Nelson Cruz to ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.
Megill showed great poise the entire night working in and out of trouble often caused by things out of his control like Pete Alonso missing a tag or Francisco Lindor committing an error.
Megill wound up being the fourth Mets pitcher to strike out six or more batters and not allow a run on Opening Day, joining Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Tom Seaver. Pretty elite company.
It wouldn't be realistic to expect Megill to be pumping 99 mph fastballs consistently during deGrom's absence but he might be able to hold things down better than expected. To have this kind of outing with that much pressure is so impressive, especially for someone with only 18 big league starts under his belt.
I expect Megill to be a lot closer to what we saw in his first 11 starts when he posted a 3.21 ERA against really quality competition. The Mets offense should be good enough to win if Megill gives them five or six innings allowing three runs.
This outing was incredibly encouraging and I can't wait to see how he looks next time out in Philadelphia. I am expecting big things from the right-hander.