It wasn’t easy at times, but the New York Mets (50-43) completed a tricky six-game road trip with a 3-3 record. Winning two out of three in Cincinnati was a nice bounce-back effort after a rough weekend in Pittsburgh, offering the Mets a chance at some momentum as they return home to kick off a season-high 11-game homestand tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays (48-44). First pitch for the opener of this weekend set is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.
2020 was an interesting year for the Blue Jays, who were forced to play away from Toronto due to the border closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Blue Jays ended up settling down in Buffalo and played well, going 32-28 to finish third in the American League East, eight games back of the Tampa Bay Rays, but qualified for a spot in the expanded postseason. The Rays ended up knocking Toronto out of the playoffs but the success inspired the Blue Jays to make some big free-agent splashes, winning a bidding war with the Mets for George Springer and adding Marcus Semien to a talented young offensive core. The moves have helped Toronto remain right in the thick of the wild card race but a questionable bullpen performance has left the Blue Jays in a tricky spot as the trade deadline approaches next week, making this an important series for them.
Right-hander Tylor Megill (0-0, 2.63 ERA) is set to take the mound for the Mets tonight. Megill is coming off the best start of his young career last Saturday, when he tossed six shutout innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but was stuck with a no-decision when the Mets’ bullpen imploded in a 9-7 loss. The Blue Jays will counter with former Mets’ lefty Steven Matz (8-4, 4.43 ERA), who they acquired from New York in a trade that sent Sean Reid-Foley and Yennsy Diaz to Queens. Matz picked up his eighth win of the season on Sunday, tossing five shutout innings against the Texas Rangers in Buffalo.
New York Mets Lineup:
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 23, 2021
- The Mets and Blue Jays played at Sahlen Field in Buffalo last September with Toronto winning two out of three.
- This is Toronto’s first trip to Citi Field since May of 2018 when the Mets and Blue Jays split a two-game set.
- The Mets are 12-1 at home against Toronto, their best home record against any opponent.
- Neither team has faced the opposing starter before.
- Jeff McNeil, who left Wednesday’s game early with what manager Luis Rojas termed fatigue, is out of the lineup today. Luis Guillorme will start at second base and bat eighth.
- Jonathan Villar is 2 for 7 in his career against Matz.
- Matz spent the first six years of his career in New York, going 31-41 with a 4.35 ERA in 112 appearances, including 107 starts.
- The Mets have officially announced the Rich Hill trade. Robert Stock was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for Hill on the 40-man roster.