Megill regains his confidence in 'really impressive' start

August 29th, 2023

NEW YORK -- had his best outing since returning from Triple-A Syracuse on Aug. 5. The right-hander gave the Mets length in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers at Citi Field on Monday night.

The way Megill was pitching, it seemed hard to believe that the Rangers entered with the second-most runs scored in the Majors. Megill matched his season high of six innings, allowed one run on five hits and struck out a season-high eight batters. He was cruising through the first five innings, retiring 15 of the first 18 hitters he faced.

The key to success was getting ahead of the hitters.

“It seemed like all my stuff was on tonight, and I felt like I could throw any pitch at any count,” Megill said.

Manager Buck Showalter was impressed with Megill’s command. The Rangers had to honor the slider, and Megill even had some curveballs in the artillery.

“With that many left-hand hitters, you must have something [to bring to the table],” Showalter said. “Megill had late life on the fastball. They have to rush to the fastball. It leaves them susceptible to pitch recognition. The Rangers are a really good hitting team. It was really impressive. … It’s a tape he can watch down the road [to see] how effective he can be against really good hitters at this level.”

But the Rangers gave him headaches in the sixth. The first two hitters -- Marcus Semien and Corey Seager -- started the inning with a double and single before Nathaniel Lowe hit into a double play. Semien was on third base when Adolis García doubled to right field to send Semien home. But Robbie Grossman struck out on a four-seam fastball to end the threat.   

“That at-bat against Grossman and the sequence on the last pitch were big. I wish we could have rewarded him with the win he deserved,” Showalter said.

Megill said his confidence is back. It helped that he had an honest talk with the coaching staff, changed his mechanics and started to get late life on the heater. 

“I’ve been able to attack hitters, get ahead early and allow my offspeed [pitches] to work [off the fastball],” Megill said.

Megill left the game with a 3-1 lead, but the bullpen couldn't close the door. With the Mets ahead, 3-2, in the ninth inning, Trevor Gott tried to save his second game of the season, but he was in trouble from the start.

After allowing a single to Jonah Heim and a double to Ezequiel Duran, it looked like Gott could get out of the inning after he struck out Leody Tavares and Semien. But after Corey Seager was intentionally walked to load the bases, Lowe came to the plate and singled to right field, scoring pinch-runner Josh H. Smith and Duran and putting the Rangers ahead by a run.

“I thought we were going to get out of it,” Gott said. “I wish that pitch [to Lowe] was a little more in. I felt like I executed that whole inning. They put some swings on those pitches.”