“Against the Cubs, a walk-off, inside-the-park home run off Aroldis Chapman,” Carasiti said. “I remember it like it was yesterday.”
He did miss a detail that, to be honest after an exciting win, was trivial. The “home run” by Ryan Raburn at Coors Field on Aug. 19, 2016 was of the Little League variety, when he was awarded home plate on a wild Javy Baez throw. But a long time is a long time.
And who needs to reminisce when he’s receiving opportunities for more big league highlights?
Saturday’s victory was the result of another case of the bullpen needing to handle much of the game. Starter Austin Gomber yielded just two runs but gave up six hits and three walks while lasting just 2 2/3 innings. Carasiti, who until this year had only appeared in the Majors with the Rockies in ‘16 and the Mariners in ‘19, struck out two and limited the Royals to an infield hit, then turned it over to Jake Bird, Brad Hand and Justin Lawrence.
After giving up six runs in his season debut on May 21, Carasiti has thrown 8 2/3 scoreless innings over four outings. In the two previous brief stints in the Majors, Carasiti never pitched more than one inning in a game. But with the Rockies in need of a long reliever, because there were too many opportunities for Peter Lambert to handle alone, Carasiti came up from Triple-A Albuquerque and has feasted on a veritable buffet of innings.
“I was kind of one of the guys that, ‘Oh, it’s 11-0, and we got a guy that can eat an inning,’” Carasiti said. “It’s cool to pitch in games that mean something.”
Saturday’s game was the Rockies’ 16th in 17 days. In eight of the last 11 games, the bullpen had to eat four or more innings. Of those eight heavy bullpen contests, the Rockies have won half -- not bad considering such little work from the starters in such a congested schedule.
Anyone willing to take the ball and offer quality is appreciated. Carasiti entered with a 5-2 lead, two on and two out in the third. He fell behind Edward Olivares, 3-0, before forcing a pop-up, then breezed through the next two frames with little issue.
“He [Carasiti] has given us a long relief role, along with Peter,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Right now, we need those guys, based on what we’re going through with our starters.
“To win a game like that, when you go to the bullpen in the third inning, you need all your relievers to step up, and they did a nice job.”
Bird entered leading MLB relievers with 36 2/3 innings and kept the Royals quiet for two more. Hand struck out the first two batters of the eighth before giving up a run on a walk, a hit batsman and Drew Walters’ single. Lawrence, pitching on a third straight day and earning his second straight save, worked Michael Massey into a fly to center. Lawrence finished the bullpen work that Carasiti started by navigating the ninth despite yielding Salvador Perez’s two-out RBI single.
“It’s awesome -- I knew Carasiti for a while before he hit the road,” said Lawrence, who was drafted in 2015, during Carasiti’s first stint in the Rockies’ system. “To see that guy come in and eat up innings, close games, not close games, I commend him for that. It’s an important role.”
Carasiti has pitched with the Rockies, Mariners, Cubs and Giants system. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020, he joined the Red Sox in ‘21 but never pitched because he needed another procedure. In and around all that, he pitched a year in Japan as a starter and a reliever, and spent time in independent ball. After all that, any role is fine with him.
The Rockies are off Monday before playing another 17 straight days of games. While the Rockies would rather have more consistency from their rotation, four starters are on the injured list and performance of the current rotation has been spotty.
So feed Carasiti innings.
“I’m throwing well in this role and me being a ground-ball guy, it bodes well for multiple innings,” said Carasiti, who mixes a firm fastball with a forkball that forces weak contact. “It’s funny how things work out the way it goes.”