Mets vs. Nationals Odds, Pick & Preview: Does Tylor Megill Have What it Takes on Opening Day? (April 7)
Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tomas Nido and Tylor Megill
- The ailing Mets send Tylor Megill to the mound for Opening Day with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer unavailable.
- The Nationals turn to Patrick Corbin, with Juan Soto and Co. looking to put a hurt on the young Megill from the plate.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Mets vs. Nationals Odds
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Poor Mets fans. The recent trend of winning the offseason and being disappointed throughout the summer looks to be happening again. This time sooner than they even expected.
Steve Cohen made arguably the biggest offseason move just before the lockout, signing three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the largest annual contract in MLB history. The Mets also added Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, Adam Ottavino and recently traded for Chris Bassitt.
But Mets fans know all to well that what goes up must come down. After making just 15 starts last season, superstar ace Jacob deGrom has already been shut down for at least a month after suffering a shoulder injury.
On top of that, Scherzer is dealing with hamstring tightness and won’t be available for Opening Day. New Mets manager Buck Schowalter might not have his top two pitchers available, but New York is still the favorite against a rebuilding Nationals team.
So where does the value lie in this Opening Day NL East clash?
Ailing Mets Turn to Megill
Without deGrom or Scherzer available, 26-year-old Tylor Megill will receive the ball for Opening Day. After making his MLB debut last June, Megill made 18 starts last year and finished 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA and 3.92 xFIP.
The rookie started his big-league career fantastically, pitching to a 2.04 ERA over his first seven starts. Over his next 11 starts, though, his ERA ballooned to 6.13 and he allowed 2.48 HR/9.
Megill’s fastball has touched 97 this spring and he seemed to add a cutter to his arsenal that should help improve his already solid strikeout upside. He posted a 9.94 K/9 last year.
The Mets have some solid bullpen arms with Edwin Diaz, Ottavino, Trevor May and Seth Lugo, but they desperately need to find a reliable lefty arm in the ‘pen.
If New York is going to make a run at the NL East crown, they will need Francisco Lindor to have a big bounce back season. If spring training is any indication, things could be heading that way. Lindor hit .294 with a 1.048 OPS this spring and clubbed four home runs and 11 RBI in 10 games.
The Mets finished last season 21st in wOBA and were 27th in runs scored. Marte should be a big addition to that lineup after posting a .364 wOBA last season and leading the league with 47 stolen bases.
On top of deGrom and Scherzer, center fielder Brandon Nimmo could miss the start of the season with neck stiffness.
Nationals All About Soto
Patrick Corbin will get the Opening Day start for Washington, despite coming off the worst season of his career. Corbin finished the year with a 5.82 ERA and 9-16 record in 31 games.
After two dreadful seasons, Washington will hope Corbin returns to his 2019 form when he went 14-7 with a 3.25 ERA to help lead the Nationals to the World Series title.
Corbin still has a pretty solid slider, but his fastball got smashed last season to a .408 wOBA. He also says he struggled with “overthrowing” at times, which is likely the cause for his 3.15 BB/9 rate. Limiting the free passes (and home runs) will be key if he has any chance of returning to that 2019 form.
The Nationals offense will basically begin and end with Juan Soto. The NL MVP favorite (+280) got off to a slow start last season but finished the season with a .348 average and 1.164 OPS following the All-Star break. Soto is very firmly in the conversation for top player in all of baseball.
Veteran free agent Nelson Cruz was brought in to help give Soto some protection in the lineup. After hitting 32 home runs last season, the 41-year-old is still a threat at the plate.
If you’re a Nationals fan looking for something positive to watch (besides Soto) during what could be a long season, look no further than catcher Keibert Ruiz. The 23-year-old top prospect came over from the Dodgers in the Max Scherzer trade and should be one of the best young catchers in baseball.
The Nationals are saying all the right things about Corbin returning to his 2019 form. While I respect the wishful thinking, I’m not buying it. Over the last two years, no pitcher in the league has suffered more losses than Corbin’s 23. His 5.50 ERA since 2020 is the second-highest mark among all qualified pitchers.
New York made some big moves this offseason and clearly has the better lineup than the Nats. Marte should give the top of that lineup some immediate juice, and give plenty of RBI opportunities for Pete Alonso. Lindor has been tearing the cover off the ball this spring and looks poised for a bounce-back season.
I think the Mets are clearly the better team here, but their bullpen still scares me because, well, it’s the Mets. They don’t have any reliable lefties and Soto mashes right-handed pitching.
I’ll avoid the bullpens here and hope Soto saves any damage for late in the game. Instead, I’ll play the Mets at -109 in the first five innings and would play it up to -120.
Pick: New York Mets First Five ML (-109)