In the wake of Jacob deGrom’s setback (right elbow inflammation), which will likely keep him out until at least September, Carlos Carrasco delivered a promising outing in his Mets’ debut against the Reds on Friday.
Carrasco, who still isn’t fully stretched out yet, tossed four innings of one run baseball on 58 pitches and exited the game with the score tied 1-1.
The right-hander’s night initially began in disastrous fashion, as his first pitch was taken out of the yard for a leadoff homer off the bat of Jonathan India.
But after that, he settled in to throw three shutout innings, allowing just two hits and recording four strikeouts against the Reds’ lineup.
"Finally I got to pitch again today, and I was so excited,” said Carrasco after the game. “It feels great, that's what's most important."
Unfortunately, the Mets’ bullpen allowed five runs, and the offense couldn’t make up enough ground, as Carrasco was left with a no-decision in his first start of the season.
And as far as how long it will take for Carrasco to fully stretch out his arm, he is taking it start-by-start.
"Right now, we go one start at a time,” he said. “I don't know what the next start is going to be."
"I feel strong. The trainers and everyone spent a lot of time to get me back."
With deGrom out indefinitely, Carrasco’s return is even more critical for the Mets’ rotation.
After deGrom pitched like a Cy Young candidate throughout the first half of the season, Carrasco missed the first 101 games with a torn hamstring. Now, all of a sudden, their roles are reversed.
"It's really important," he said of his need to perform with deGrom out. "It's no secret for anyone what happened (to deGrom)....We need to keep fighting, that's the only thing we have to do right now.”
Mets manager Luis Rojas also reiterated Carrasco’s comments regarding the team’s ace.
"He’s an Important presence,” said Rojas of Carrasco, following the Mets’ 6-2 loss to the Reds. “We are looking for him to build up innings-wise. With the Jake news, he is going to be huge for us."
When Rojas was asked what he sees deGrom contributing to the team down the stretch, he wasn’t overly optimistic.
"I don't know right now. It's uncertain."
While deGrom’s status for the remainder of the season is currently unknown, the Mets need Carrasco to step up, and last night was a big step in the right direction.