MILWAUKEE — Near the end of his surprise rookie year, Tylor Megill is a 6-7, 230-pound enigma.
He struggled again Friday in the Mets’ 5-1 loss to the Brewers, combining with another unimposing night from the hitters to push the team to the brink of formal elimination from a playoff berth. They have dropped eight of their past nine games.
In Megill, the Mets (73-80) have a pitcher whose season has mirrored their own: great success early, probably more than initially anticipated, followed by greater regression late.
"We still firmly believe," manager Luis Rojas said, "that this kid has good stuff and has a good demeanor and that he’ll [learn from] things like this."
Megill lasted four innings and allowed four runs on a trio of homers by Kolten Wong (leading off the bottom of the first), Willy Adames and Christian Yelich. The latter two came back-to-back in the third inning. He also walked a career-high four batters and struck out two.
His final start is scheduled for Wednesday against the Marlins. Rojas said the Mets will discuss whether he indeed will pitch then or get shut down an outing early.
As the season winds down, Megill has a 4.78 ERA. The major-league portion of his year seems to have been split in two: a 2.04 ERA through July (seven starts) and a 6.75 ERA in the last two months (10 starts).
"I had a good amount of success and I’ve had recently a good amount of bad," he said. "I wouldn’t say terrible. Bumps in the road where I’m having outings where I’m giving up the long ball consistently."
Opposing hitters have mashed 12 homers in his past six outings. Rojas said that is in part because Megill doesn’t have a reliable third pitch (never mind a fourth).
"Good-hitting clubs, good-hitting players are going to hunt for something, they’re going to get it and rarely they’re going to miss," Rojas said. "That’s what’s been the case here."
He also referenced the proverbial cat-and-mouse game in which pitchers and hitters engage.
"You see guys taking better swings against him," Rojas said.
"They’re taking good swings on pitches that at the beginning of his career, in the early games he was throwing . . . he was getting swings-and-misses in-zone."
Megill, who entered the year hoping for a late-season cameo in The Show, cruised through Double-A and Triple-A before the pitching-needy Mets gave him a shot in June. Now he ranks third on the team with 17 starts, behind Marcus Stroman (32) and Taijuan Walker (28).
"He’s impressed us from the start," Rojas said.
For the Brewers (92-62), lefthander Eric Lauer held the Mets to one run and three hits in 6 2⁄3 innings, a particularly impressive showing considering the way it began.
In his 39-pitch first inning, Lauer allowed Brandon Nimmo’s leadoff triple and Francisco Lindor’s RBI groundout, affording the Mets a near-immediate lead. They loaded the bases with two outs with the help of Adames’ throwing error on Pete Alonso’s grounder, but James McCann struck out to end the threat — for the inning and for the night.
Lauer, whose breakout season includes a 2.93 ERA, retired 18 of his final 20 batters.
So it goes for the Mets of late. Remember that intense Sunday night win over the Yankees? When Lindor homered twice, got into a shouting match with Giancarlo Stanton, triggering the benches to clear, and homered for a third time to put the team on top for good, with the final out recorded after midnight?
The Mets have won one game since then.
Rojas, meanwhile, is stuck on 99 career wins as the Mets’ manager.
"I wasn’t aware," he said.
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