Jose Butto continues strong spring with four scoreless innings in Mets' tie with Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. – Jose Butto continued the Mets' strong starting pitching this spring, firing four scoreless innings on Thursday afternoon against a Cardinals lineup that included A-listers such as Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt as the two sides finished in a 0-0 tie.

The young right-hander allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out three at Roger Dean Stadium. He threw 65 pitches, 50 of them for strikes.

Butto is among the pitchers vying to take Kodai Senga’s spot in the starting rotation as Senga recovers from injury. Tylor Megill is the likely favorite, but even if Butto does not crack the rotation, he could be a useful reliever or serve as depth.

Butto has allowed only one run in 10 innings so far this spring in four outings (two starts). Overall, Mets starters have a 2.01 ERA this spring, following Butto’s outing. They entered play Thursday with the lowest starter ERA in the Major Leagues.

Here are the takeaways...

Brett Baty, who returned to the lineup after being scratched Wednesday because of back tightness, made two fine plays at third base, diving to make a backhanded snare on a Goldschmidt liner in the third inning and then leaping high to snag a liner by Dylan Carlson with two on to end the fourth. The play preserved Butto’s scoreless outing and the pitcher joked after the game that he went right up to Baty in the dugout afterward and asked him what he’d like for dinner. Butto, obviously, was buying after that play.

- Mets reliever Nolan Clenney threw a razor-sharp sixth inning, striking out Goldschmidt, Brandon Crawford and Arenado in order. Clenney, a 27-year-old righty, has struck out four over 1.2 scoreless innings of work this spring. He had a 6.19 ERA in 37 games between Double-A and Triple-A last season.

- Adam Ottavino also threw a scoreless frame of relief, striking out two in the fifth inning. Ottavino has thrown three innings this spring and has not allowed a run.

- The Cardinals endured a scary moment in the first inning when Goldschmidt, their slugging first baseman, tumbled into their dugout in pursuit of a foul ball off Luke Voit’s bat. Luckily, Goldschmidt emerged from the dugout seemingly unscathed and returned to action.


Upcoming schedule

The Mets play two games on Friday -- the first-ever prospects vs. prospects Spring Breakout game against the Washington Nationals at 3:10 p.m. on SNY, and their regular game against the Nats at 6:10 p.m. on SNY.

Dom Hamel gets the start for the Mets' prospects in the Spring Breakout game.

Adrian Houser gets the start against the Nats in the regular game, with Jorge Lopez, Sean Reid-Foley, Phil Bickford, and Yacksel Rios also scheduled to pitch.