Carrasco K's 10 to tie MLB lead with 7 wins

June 7th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Had someone told Mets owner Steve Cohen back in March that his team would be without Jacob deGrom for most or all of the first half of the season, and without Max Scherzer for much of the same, Cohen, in his own words, “Would have said, ‘Oh boy, that’s going to be a problem.'"

“But we didn’t really know what we had,” Cohen noted last week in Los Angeles. “Even some of the players that were here last year have all improved.”

There is perhaps no better case study than Carlos Carrasco, who endured major hamstring and elbow injuries last year en route to a 1-5 record and 6.04 ERA. Considering Carrasco was 34 at the time and hadn’t been effective over a full season since 2018, it was reasonable to wonder if he might still be capable of providing significant value. Turns out those worries were unfounded. After delivering seven innings of two-run ball in an 11-5 win over the Padres on Monday night at Petco Park, Carrasco improved to 7-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 2022.

More than that, Carrasco moved the Mets one day closer to surviving this stretch without deGrom (who recently began throwing bullpen sessions), Scherzer (who has been long-tossing at home in Florida) and Tylor Megill (who joined the Mets in San Diego with an eye toward pitching up the Pacific Coast this weekend.)

“Those three guys are down, so we have to do our job,” said Carrasco, who struck out 10, his first double-digit game since joining the Mets in 2021.

Monday’s game only became tenuous after Carrasco left the game, when the Padres rallied for three runs in the eighth. But Eduardo Escobar hit for the cycle and drove home six runs -- four of them in the final two innings -- to ensure a third consecutive Mets triumph. It was the sixth straight win for Carrasco, who joined the Dodgers’ Tyler Anderson as the only MLB pitchers with seven victories in total.

“I think anyone can have a down season like myself last year,” Carrasco said. “But you know what? This year, I feel great. That’s what I want to do every five days -- just go out there and give the team wins.”

For the Mets, Carrasco’s streak has come at an opportune time. Monday marked the 18th straight game the Mets have played without deGrom, Scherzer and Megill. They are 13-5 over that stretch, thanks in large part to Carrasco, but also to Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, David Peterson and Trevor Williams, the other members of New York’s patched-up rotation.

Rather than stumble, the Mets have actually increased their NL East lead while playing without three of their top six starters, moving from six games up on the Braves to nine.

By the time Megill returns this weekend, the Mets will have gone four full rotation turns without those three pitchers. All four have all been successful. And while the exact timelines for deGrom and Scherzer aren’t clear, it’s reasonable to believe the Mets will have both back around the All-Star break.

It figures to create an enviable problem for the Mets, who must eventually decide who stays and who goes.

Carrasco, of course, will not be going anywhere.

“Very quietly, he’s just reminded everybody that he was one of the best pitchers in the American League for a number of years,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s just another example of when guys are healthy, how different everything is. He’s been in a good place for a long time.”