Brewers meet Mets in matchup of NL division leaders

MLB

If the first meeting of the season between the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers is to be a preview of a National League Division Series to come in October, the Mets will need rookie Tylor Megill to continue performing like one of the experienced starters he’s replacing in the rotation.

Megill is scheduled to make his third big league start Monday night, when the Mets host the Brewers in the first game of a three-game series pitting a pair of NL division leaders.

Megill (0-0, 4.82 ERA) is slated to oppose fellow right-hander Brandon Woodruff (7-3, 1.87 ERA), who was named to the NL All-Star team Sunday.

The Mets split a doubleheader with the host New York Yankees Sunday afternoon, when they scored six runs in the seventh inning of a 10-5 win in the opener before falling in the nightcap, 4-2. The visiting Brewers’ 11-game winning streak — the second-longest in franchise history — ended with a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

With injuries continuing to ravage the back end of the Mets’ rotation behind Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman, Megill will get plenty of opportunities to prove his first two starts were no fluke for the Mets, who lead the NL East by 3 1/2 games.

Megill didn’t factor into the decision last Tuesday, when he faced the Atlanta Braves for the second straight time and allowed three runs over five innings as the Mets came back to earn a 4-3 win.

Right-handers Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) and Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) are still weeks away from making their season debuts, left-hander Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John surgery) is out until late 2022 and fellow southpaw David Peterson (right oblique) is sidelined indefinitely.

“I can tell why this kid was putting up numbers in Double-A and Triple-A — he comes in bringing the same thing he was doing down there,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of Megill, who was 2-1 with a 3.35 ERA in eight starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse. “He’s been a blessing for us, because this is one need that we had and he happened to be the guy who was throwing the ball — the best right-hander for us — and he got the call-up for us and he’s been responding well.”

Nobody’s responded better lately than the Brewers, whose winning streak cemented their status as the favorite to win the NL Central. Following a 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 21, Milwaukee was tied for first place with the Chicago Cubs, with the St. Louis Cardinals (3 1/2 games behind) and Cincinnati Reds (four games behind) on their heels.

The Brewers ended Sunday seven games ahead of the second-place Reds, which was a pretty good consolation prize on an afternoon in which their pursuit of history ended. Milwaukee’s winning streak was two games shy of the 13-game season-opening run enjoyed by the 1987 team.

“Eleven-game streaks, everybody on the roster has done something to help us during this streak, for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It feels like a stretch where everybody carried the load.”

Woodruff earned the win last Tuesday, when he allowed one run over six innings as the Brewers beat the Cubs, 2-1. He is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.

–Field Level Media

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