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Tylor Megill struggles, doesn’t make it out of second inning in loss to Nationals

WASHINGTON — Tylor Megill’s seventh start of the year was foul enough to be flushed down the toilet.

Megill, who entered this outing having given up just nine runs across his previous six starts, put his team in an early hole that spelled disaster in the Amazin’s 8-3 loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park on Wednesday.

“I just didn’t have it today,” Megill said. “In an outing like this, as bad as it went, you can’t really dwell over it. Flush it, obviously it was a bad outing, but I’m capable of way more. I’m not going to let this one define me and get ready for the next one.”

The Mets’ Opening Day starter didn’t have his command and made a mess of things as early as his first batter of the night. Juan Soto, one of the best hitters in the game and not one to miss a mistake, clobbered Megill’s 97 mile per hour fastball that had no zip and flattened right in the middle of the zone. Soto’s two-run homer was just the beginning.

Megill allowed 11 of his first 14 batters to reach base, including a three-run homer to Nelson Cruz, and also plunked Josh Bell. Manager Buck Showalter saw enough as soon as the second inning. Megill turned in his shortest outing, 1.1 innings, and by far his worst start of the season.

“I fell behind a lot of hitters early and just left a lot of stuff over the middle of the plate in hitters’ counts,” Megill said. “They did what they did with it.”

In some ways, Megill was due for a start like Wednesday. He had been confident and unflappable since his Opening Day start, when he took the mound in place of Jacob deGrom and dominated on that very same Nationals Park mound. Megill rolled through his next five starts, against tougher opponents like the Phillies, Giants and Braves, and continued to find success.

Megill entered Wednesday carrying a 2.43 ERA. After being charged with eight earned runs on eight hits with one walk and one strikeout across 54 pitches, he left the ballpark with a ballooned 4.41 ERA. Buck Showalter said the Nationals were on Megill’s approach, his repertoire and his sequence.

“That’s always the conspiracy theory,” the Mets manager said when asked if Megill was tipping his pitches. “Most of the time, you go back through it and they’re not very good pitches.”

Just about the only silver lining the Mets can recognize from Wednesday’s loss is something Showalter pointed out earlier in the road trip: it’s easier to save the bullpen in a loss than it is in a win.

After Megill left his outing in the second inning, Showalter used just two pitchers to cover the remainder of the distance. Trevor Williams ate 3.2 innings, giving up just two hits and walking one in that span, across 51 pitches — three fewer pitches than Megill. Williams handed the ball to Stephen Nogosek to start the sixth inning. Nogosek, in his season debut, copied Williams and kept the Nationals from scoring across three hit-less innings.

“We didn’t have many opportunities,” Showalter said of the offense, a group that didn’t put anyone on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

In hindsight, the bullpen’s strong performance setup the perfect opportunity for the Mets offense to chip away at the Nationals. But Mets hitters, after attacking Nationals right-hander Aaron Sanchez for three runs in the first inning, went cold against him for the next handful of innings. Sanchez retired 11 in a row until a Pete Alonso comebacker caused him to exit his start with an apparent injury to his wrist.

There was a block in the middle of the Mets lineup on Wednesday, as Showalter and other team officials decided to put the struggling Dominic Smith and the 1-for-21 Eduardo Escobar back-to-back in the order. Somewhat predictably, the structure did not lead to positive results for the majority of the game. It wasn’t until the ninth inning that Escobar and Jeff McNeil collected back-to-back hits, but this game wasn’t being played at Philly, where the Mets rallied for a thrilling seven-run ninth-inning rally. On Wednesday in the nation’s capital, the rally rat was nowhere to be found.

“That well, it’s hard to go to every time,” Showalter said on whether the Mets had another late-inning comeback in them. “It’s difficult to do.”

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Source: Berkshire mont

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