Should the Mets use an opener in Carlos Carrasco’s starts?

The 2021 season hasn’t been easy for New York Mets’ starter Carlos Carrasco. He experienced elbow soreness during spring training, and then he tore his hamstring and missed the entire first half.

He already has nine starts under his belt since returning, but his ERA is a high 5.59. Naturally, it takes some time to establish some rhythm on the mound after such a long absence. And the Mets’ right-hander, who came to the team during the offseason alongside Francisco Lindor, has been better as of late, allowing three earned runs or fewer in his last five starts.

However, his first inning issues have been notorious. He has a 15.00 ERA in the opening frame, and it considerably decreases after that as he gets on a groove, to 2,73. Seeing the situation, one can’t help but wonder if the Mets should use an opener in Carrasco’s starts.

The idea of the opener has been around MLB for a few seasons, so it’s not new. It’s something New York could consider to help mitigate Carrasco’s first-inning woes.

The Mets could benefit from the concept of an opener

The Mets could use a shutdown reliever in the first frame and have Carrasco enter the game starting, ideally, from the fourth or fifth hitter. By the time he gets the 1-3 hitters for the first time, he will be, hopefully, in a groove, or at least that’s the idea.

After that, he could make his way through the lineup two times, and from the third time through, manage Luis Rojas should be alert and eager to call the bullpen.

Three Mets relievers could be potential candidates for the “opener” role: Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Aaron Loup.

Since Diaz and Loup are perhaps the most important arms for the late innings, Lugo acting as an opener could be something the team can consider, at least for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Should the Mets use an opener in front of Carlos Carrasco in 2021?

Alonso Powers Mets To A 9-4 Victory Over Marlins

New York Mets, Pete Alonso

Every game for the New York Mets is a must-win at this point in the season, and their offense is starting to find its way at the right time. A two-homer game from Pete Alonso began and ended the Mets’ offensive output in their 9-4 win over the Miami Marlins.

Alonso’s first home run gave the Mets an early 2-0 lead, and it was the 100th of his career. His chase to 100 is the second-fastest of all-time behind the mercurial Ryan Howard. The rest of the team found creative ways to get their third and fourth runs as two hit-by-pitches allowed them to tack runs against Eduardo Cabrera. At one point, the Mets had four runs but just one hit in the entire game. Francisco Lindor added more with a two-run single and J.D. Davis had a pinch-hit RBI double.

The Mets pulled off the rare feat of scoring nine runs but needing six runs to get them. It was a weird night for both teams, who each committed three errors and combined to go 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position. Carlos Carrasco once again allowed a first-inning run but managed to battle through the errors behind him. Carrasco pitched five innings, allowing four runs (one earned), and did enough to give the Mets a chance to win. The Mets bullpen picked up the rest with four shutout innings to nurse the game to its conclusion.

The Mets did not gain any ground on the first-place Atlanta Braves, who defeated the Washington Nationals. They did gain on the second-place Philadelphia Phillies and have an opportunity to gain on the San Diego Padres for the second wild-card spot. On Wednesday, Rich Hill will take the mound against Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara. The first pitch is another early 6:40 p.m. ET start from LoanDepot Park.

Smith’s Seventh Inning Gives Mets Boost in 4-3 Win to Sweep Marlins

dominic smith, mets

The New York Mets season has been riddled with tough breaks and bad bounces, but things moved in their favor against the Miami Marlins. An error from the Marlins and a ball nicking of Jesus Aguilar‘s glove in the seventh inning resulted in Dominic Smith‘s RBI single, which gave the Mets just enough to win 4-3 and sweep the Marlins. The whole game was filled with errors as both teams combined for seven errors.

The Mets had themselves a situation they had failed in for a majority of the season. Patrick Mazeika‘s single and error by Jesus Sanchez allowed Jeff McNeil to get to third base with one out. Smith ripped the ball over the first-base bag, and since Aguilar was holding on Mazeika, he reached out his glove to attempt to make a play. If Aguilar let the ball go, it would have gone foul, but instincts took over, and it allowed the Mets to steal a run.

Carlos Carrasco had a typical start for his 2021 season. Miguel Rojas ambushed him on the first pitch to give the Marlins an early run, and the fish tacked on another to make it 2-0 in the first. Carrasco once again settled in after the first inning to put together 5.1 innings allowing three runs and striking out five. Aaron Loup relinquished the lead with two walks in relief but survived the keep the game tied. The following three relievers for the Mets all had hitless outings.

Battling Back

The Mets had their work cut out for them early against Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara but were up to the task. Jonathan Villar took notes from Rojas to drill a leadoff home run on Alcantara’s first pitch. It was the first time in MLB history where both team’s leadoff hitters homered on the first pitch. Mazeika was the only Met with multiple hits and also recorded a double. Francisco Lindor only had an RBI double on the night but could have easily had a couple more hits if he was not hitting the ball at people.

The win is the fifth consecutive for the Mets, and they have an opportunity to move within four games of the first-place Atlanta Braves. On Friday, they will begin a five-game series with the Washington Nationals. Two former Long Island Ducks face-off as Rich Hill takes the mound against Sean Nolin. The first pitch from Nationals Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

 

Mets Game Preview (9/2/21) vs. Miami Marlins (55-78)

mets, pete alonso

After torrential rains across the east coast postponed Wednesday’s game, the New York Mets and Miami Marlins will play the final game of their series today. Over the last 24 hours, the Mets had to deal with another off-the-field issue as acting GM Zach Scott was arrested on a DWI on Tuesday morning. The first pitch from Citi Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Less than a month after Scott calls out the team for failing to produce and keep themselves healthy, Scott was found sleeping in his car at 4:17 A.M. after a night of drinking. After the whole thumbs-down fiasco, the team has another incident they will need to put behind them. Luckily they have been very resilient, winning four in a row. It has called them to move within five games of the first-place Atlanta Braves.

The Marlins are coming off a rough doubleheader loss, and the bullpen desperately needed the day off. Jesus Aguilar has been the only consistent bat to worry about in the Marlins lineup. He leads the NL with 92 RBIs to go along with 22 homers and 23 doubles.

Pitching Matchup

Carlos Carrasco gets the start for the Mets and has started to pitch to expectations over his last couple of starts. In his last outing against the San Francisco Giants, Carrasco went seven innings allowing two runs and recorded seven strikeouts. After stumbling in the first inning, Carrasco did not allow a run for the rest of his start.

The Marlins have not announced a starter as of 1:30 p.m. ET.

Another Day, Another Loss: Dodgers Beat Mets 3-2

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to use the New York Mets as their punching bags, taking their fifth consecutive game against them this season. This time, Walker Buehler led the way as he held the Mets to just two runs in 7.2 dominant innings to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win.

Despite the quiet offensive night, the Mets had their best chance at tying the game against the fatigued Buehler in the eighth inning. A wild pitch set up the Mets with runners on second and third with only one out. Jeff McNeil thought he drew a walk to load the bases, but home plate umpire Nestor Ceja punched him out on a clear ball. Pete Alonso got one run in with an infield single that grazed his foot, making it a 3-2 game. Alonso also took care of the first run with his half swing, resulting in a solo home run to right-center field.

The hit chased Buehler and set up a matchup between Alex Vesia and Michael Conforto. Their at-bat resulted in a gutsy 10-pitch walk which loaded the bases for J.D. Davis. As usual, Davis saw a heavy dose of fastballs up in the zone, but one at the knees is what struck him out looking to get out of the inning. Kenley Jansen came on to shut the door in the ninth inning to throw a 1-2-3 inning on eight pitches to get the save.

Classic Carrasco

Carlos Carrasco looked like he would have another short outing after allowing three runs and five hits in his first three innings of work. Carrasco managed to get himself into a groove and retired the last eight batters he faced. Overall, Carrasco pitched five innings, allowing three runs and striking out six. It was by far the best outing of his short season so far.

The trio of Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Seth Lugo continued the streak by retiring all three batters in their single innings of work. Each had efficient outings, with Loup and Lugo needing eight pitches while May needed 16 pitches.

On Saturday, both teams rematch for an earlier 4:10 p.m. ET start from Dodger Stadium. Rich Hill and Max Scherzer take the mound for their respective teams, combining 31 years of MLB experience.

Mets Game Preview (8/20/21) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (76-46)

The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers get themselves ready for a Friday night matinee after the Dodgers took game one. They needed almost their entire bullpen to get it done, but they quieted the Mets offense in the 4-1 win. Game two from Dodger Stadium is scheduled for another late-night 10:10 p.m. ET start.

Thursday’s loss was just another example of how lost the team is at the moment. The life and energy this team once had are completely lost, especially without Francisco Lindor on the field. Jonathan Villar and Brandon Nimmo supplied some of that energy on defense, but it lacked from the entire team on offense. The Mets failed to generate any offense late in the game as the final ten batters were retired in order.

As solid as the Dodgers bullpen was in their win, it also means only a couple of relievers received a day off. Luckily with Walker Buehler on the mound, the bullpen usually has an easy workload. Will Smith has done plenty of damage to the Mets this year in a small sample size. Smith is 5-for-15 with a double, three home runs, and seven RBIs against them this season.

Pitching Matchup

Carlos Carrasco gets a second opportunity to beat the Dodgers after struggling his last time against them. Over two innings, the Dodgers put up six runs on six hits and clubbed three home runs. Carrasco has struggled in his four starts this season and has allowed 10 runs in his last three innings pitched.

Walker Buehler takes the mound for the Dodgers as he tries to keep building his Cy Young resume. Buehler leads MLB with a 2.09 ERA over 24 starts and is 12-2 on the season. In his last start against the Mets, Buehler dominated through seven innings, allowing just one run, and recorded 10 strikeouts. Buehler has lasted at least six innings in seven consecutive starts.

Matchups To Lookout For

Carlos Carrasco vs. Trea Turner: 4-for-5 (.800), 2 Doubles

Carlos Carrasco vs. Albert Pujols: 1-for-11 (.091), Walk, 2 Strikeouts

Dodgers Make It Look Easy in 14-4 Win to Complete Sweep of Mets

mets, pete alonso

After the New York Mets missed two great opportunities to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Dodgers made sure they took away any hope of a Mets win early on. They clubbed five home runs and 12 hits on their way to a 12-4 victory on Sunday Night Baseball.

The Mets were bad at every facet of the game, from pitching to hitting to managing. Carlos Carrasco started to show that the Mets rushed him back as he struggled again. Carrasco allowed six runs in two innings and needed 57 pitches to make it through the awful start. It only took three batters for Justin Turner to hit a two-run home run and give L.A. a 2-0 lead. Will Smith added on with another homer in the first inning, and the Dodgers never looked back. Max Muncy also mixed in two more homers throughout the blowout as well.

Mets manager Luis Rojas made a baffling mistake in the second inning when he decided to let Carrasco hit for himself in the bottom of the second. The Mets were down 6-0 against Dodgers ace Max Scherzer, but Rojas allowed Carrasco to bunt instead of using a pinch-hitter. As usual, the Mets failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position and left it at 6-0.

Please Get a Hit

The Mets’ offense continued their theme of getting runners on base and leaving them there consistently. Despite scoring four runs, they went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base. They also continued their trend of struggling to hit the fastball. J.D. Davis was the poster child by striking out three times on the same up and in fastball.

All of those trends allowed Scherzer to survive through seven innings on a night where he did not have his best stuff. Scherzer pitched six innings, allowing two runs, and struck out seven when it seemed like he had runners on base every inning. Once Scherzer left the game, the lower-tier reliever made the game interesting for a short period. Darien Nunez left Edwin Uceta with a bases-loaded jam, with the Mets down by six in the seventh inning.

Davis ended up sending a majestic sacrifice fly to center field, which was about five feet from becoming a grand slam and completely changing the game. Instead, the sac fly took the win out of the Mets sails, and Jonathan Villar struck out to end the rally. Geoff Hartleib and a couple of position players allowed the Dodgers to turn it into a laugher and end any Mets hopes.

On Monday, the Mets drag themselves into San Francisco to play the best team in baseball in the Giants. The first pitch from Oracle Park is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. ET.

 

Mets Game Preview (8/10/21) vs. Washington Nationals (50-62)

mets, pete alonso

The New York Mets return to face the Washington Nationals after the Mets’ ugliest series of the season. They were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies and dropped all the way down to third place in the NL East. Their path to redemption starts at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

The Mets’ offense barely existed, and they scored in just three of 27 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. While the Mets tried to “smile through the pain,” it is clear that this offensive slide is affecting the team’s morale. Without their steady hand of Jacob deGrom on the mound and charismatic Francisco Lindor at shortstop, no one has stepped up as a leader. Javier Baez is also unavailable for tonight’s game as he deals with a hip injury.

The Nationals have lost six of their last seven as they have fully entered rebuild mode. Without Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber, Juan Soto is the only star left on the roster. Soto could play tonight after dealing with a knee injury but is having another solid year. While he is not lighting up the power numbers, he is slashing .297/.427/.499 with 18 home runs and 58 runs batted in.

Pitching Matchup

Carlos Carrasco makes his third start of the season and has been as good as advertised during his first two outings. In 8.1 innings, he has allowed three runs and punched out nine. During his last outing against the Miami Marlins, he only threw 62 pitches, which was four higher than his first start. Hopefully, Carrasco can get to the 75 pitch mark in tonight’s outing.

Paolo Espino gets the nod for the Nationals and comes off a six-run, five-inning outing against the Phillies. In his only outing against the Mets, he pitched five shutout innings, which has become a ritual for every pitcher these days. Overall, Espino has a 3.66 ERA in 25 outings (9 starts) this season.

Matchups To Lookout For

Carlos Carrasco vs. Alcides Escobar: 8-for-41 (.195), Double, 6 Strikeouts

Mets Disappoint in Carrasco’s Debut/Black Jersey Return in 6-2 Loss

The New York Mets supplied plenty of hype going into Friday night’s opener against the Cincinnati Reds. Carlos Carrasco was making his Mets debut, Javier Baez was officially traded to the Mets and it was the return of the black jerseys. Jonathan India could not care less about the energy in the building as he deposited the first pitch of the game over the left field fence.

After India’s leadoff bomb, the Mets responded with a first inning run and loaded the bases with no outs against Sonny Gray. Michael Conforto struck out and Jonathan Villar grounded into an inning ending double play to let Gray off the ropes. Gray ended up settling in for six terrific innings, allowing just the first inning run and striking out seven. As Gray settled in, he began a streak of 15 consecutuve retired hitters which lasted through the eighth inning.

Carrasco’s Debut

Carrasco also rebounded after India’s homer to allow just one run over four innings with four strikeouts. The Reds took advantage of the Mets bullpen by getting at least one run off all three relievers. Their onslaught included a Joey Votto homer for the seventh consecutive game and India’s second home run of the night.

In the ninth, the Mets were down by five but ended up getting the tying run on the on deck circle. Unfortunately, Amir Garrett struckout James McCann to end the game and the two out rally. Conforto’s 0-for-4 and three strikeout game dropped his average below .200 and the fans let him know how they felt. As the game continued, the boos and jeers grew louder towards Conforto, who embodied the struggles of the Mets offense.

Baez makes his Mets debut for Saturday’s game as the Mets hope to avoid a three game losing streak. Rich Hill takes the mound against Wade Miley in the middle game of the series. The first pitch from Citi Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, but the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony may push the game back.

Mets have good news to share on Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard

The New York Mets have been without two of their top pitchers, Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard, for the whole season to this point. The former has dealt with a torn hamstring for months, and the latter recently encountered a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

However, the Mets had good news to share this weekend, as both pitchers were spotted in uniform at Yankee Stadium, when they are playing through Sunday, doing baseball activities.

The Mets shut down Syndergaard with tightness in his elbow during a rehab start on May 25. At the time, they estimated he would need to stop throwing for six weeks. Instead, he was already playing catch about a month later.

Syndergaard was throwing a baseball at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, and has been playing catch off flat ground for about a week, per Mets manager Luis Rojas.

The Mets have a target date for Syndergaard

The skipper announced that the Mets are targeting September 1 as the date for Syndergaard’s return, and it seems feasible if he has no further setbacks.

Carrasco, meanwhile, started throwing bullpen sessions late last month, and he is already in the ramp-up phase of his recovery from a torn hamstring. He had to wait until the muscles on his legs were strong enough to endure the rigors of pitching, but fortunately for the Mets, he is already there.

If everything goes according to the plan, he’ll start a rehab assignment in mid-July and return around the end of the month. “Feels good, looks good, stuff is great,” Rojas said. “But this is where he’s ramping up.”

The Mets are expected to pursue starting pitching help around the trade deadline, which is in July 30, but if they are able to get back the best versions of Carrasco and Syndergaard, that would go a long way into securing some necessary pitching depth for the stretch run.