The Mets beat the Marlins, 2-1 at loanDepot park last night, the result of the game was not important. Jeff McNeil snapped a 1-1 tie in the ninth with a solo home run, but an outing by the Mets starting pitcher is what was notable in a meaningless September game.
In his latest column, nysportsday.com columnist Rich Mancuso touched on the starting rotation being a priority for the Mets this off season. The Mets may have found an arm that could be part of their starting rotation in 2024.
25-year old Jose Butto gave the Mets a third consecutive solid start since he joined the rotation earlier this month. Butto, who got a no decision, tossed a season high 95 pitches while giving up a run on four hits in six innings pitched with one walk and six strikeouts.
In his last three starts, Butto has pitched 17 1/3 innings and has posted a 2.08 ERA. The right hander held down a Marlins lineup that had produced 36 runs in their previous three games against the Atlanta Braves staff.
Butto wasn’t exactly rolling at Syracuse but he made enough progress to get the call up on September 1st. “The guys did a great job with him down at Syracuse. Shape on his slider, made it a really useful pitch for him, something he really didn’t have command of,” Mets Manager Buck Showalter said. “The shape of it is good. It’s given him a three pitch look that he didn’t have.”
In past Septembers, it was the Marlins who would put a hurtin’ on the Mets post season hopes, but last night, the roles were reversed. The loss left Miami a half game behind the Cubs and Reds for the third and final NL Wild Card spot with 11 games to play.
Butto matched zeros with Marlins starter Edward Cabrera for four innings until the Mets broke the scoreless tie with a run in the fifth.
With one out, Ronny Mauricio singled and stole second. After Omar Narvaez walked, Mark Vientos continued his hot hitting as he drove home Rosario with a line single to center.
Miami answered with their only run off of Butto in the fifth. Jesus Sanchez walked on a 3-2 pitch to lead off and took third when Garrett Hampson hit a chopper that took a funny hop and bounced off Mauricio’s glove for an infield hit. Butto got Joey Wendle to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play as the run scored to tie the game at one.
The Marlins thought they took the lead in the sixth.
With Luis Arraez on first after a leadoff single, Jorge Soler hit a deep, high fly down the left field line that was above the foul pole. It was originally ruled a go ahead, two run home run, but the umps conferred and the call was overturned on the field to a foul ball. “It was foul, it was foul,” Butto said through an interpreter. “I got kinda scared when I saw the umpire ruled it a home run because I knew, at that point, the game was gonna change. Luckily they ruled it foul there.”
After a review, it was confirmed that the ball was foul. Butto went on to strike out Soler and got Josh Bell and Jazz Chisholm Jr on harmless fly outs to finish a strong outing.
“Last inning, his velocity’s down a little bit, he pitched through that inning really well. When you’re a little tired towards the end of your outing, being able to maneuver through it, it’s impressive,” said Showalter.
With the game still tied in the ninth, Miami went to closer Tanner Scott who had been nearly unhittable lately. The left hander had not allowed an earned run (23 IP) since late July, but McNeil golfed a hanging slider over the fence in right center field for his 10th home run and a 2-1 lead.
Adam Ottavino pitched a strong, 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 11th save as the Mets have continued to play hard down the stretch of this lost season.
Getting a steady turn in the rotation is a chance for Butto to prove himself and he wants to take full advantage of it. “The confidence that I have now has really raised to another level. Ever since I got called up, every opportunity is an opportunity to have success and that’s what I’m really grateful for,” he said.