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.
Carlos Carrasco in the 1st inning:
Carlos Carrasco in all other innings:
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) September 13, 2021
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?