The New York Mets can envision a time in the not-so-distant future in which they actually have too many starting pitchers.
Until then, though, the Mets need rookie Tylor Megill to continue performing like an unexpected ace.
Megill will look to help the Mets bounce back from a lopsided loss when he takes the mound Wednesday night against the visiting Atlanta Braves in the penultimate contest of a five-game series.
The right-handed Megill (1-0, 2.10 ERA) is scheduled to oppose left-hander Max Fried (7-6, 4.46).
Austin Riley hit two homers and drove in a career-high six runs Tuesday to lead the Braves to a 12-5 win.
The Mets hope Tuesday marks the final time they have to piece together a game with waiver wire fodder and/or a cadre of relievers. Six of New York's past 18 games have been started by recent additions or an opener.
Jerad Eickhoff, who has been designated for assignment by the Mets twice in the past five weeks, rejoined the organization this week and started Tuesday. He gave up 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Beginning Wednesday, the Mets have viable starters penciled in for each of the final five contests in their current 11-game homestand.
All-Star Taijuan Walker, who has a 22.86 ERA in his past two starts, is slated to start Thursday before Carlos Carrasco, who has yet to pitch this season due to a right-hamstring injury, makes his New York debut Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. Marcus Stroman and Rich Hill are expected to follow.
The Mets also are expected to add a starting pitcher before Friday's trade deadline. Ace Jacob deGrom could return from the injured list in early August, and former All-Star Noah Syndergaard has a chance to return for the stretch drive.
"Looking ahead, there's no blind spot right now," Mets manager Luis Rojas said Tuesday night. "There's names on each day. There's no TBDs."
The Braves know their trade deadline philosophy could be determined by how they fare over the next two games. Atlanta, the three-time defending National League East champion, is one game under .500 this season but is just four games behind the first-place Mets in the division.
The Braves have been among the most active teams in baseball this month. Atlanta acquired outfielder Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs on July 15 and catcher Stephen Vogt from the Arizona Diamondbacks the next day.
"Without playing GM, I think we all understand the position we're in in the division," said the Braves' Charlie Morton, who allowed three runs in five innings and won his fifth straight decision Tuesday to improve to 10-3.
"I think we all think that we're more than capable of winning the division. And at the same time, we're under .500 and (four) games back in the division (before) the deadline. There's a lot of unknowns, understandably so."
Megill, who turns 26 Wednesday, earned his first big-league win Friday when he allowed two hits over six innings as the Mets beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0.
Fried took the loss Friday after giving up four runs over five innings as the Braves fell to the Phillies 5-1.
Megill is 0-0 with a 4.82 ERA in two starts against the Braves. Fried is 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA in 15 games (10 starts) against the Mets.
--Field Level Media