The New York Mets needed to rebuild their rotation for the 2023 season. Part of that was picking up Carlos Carrasco‘s $14 million option. The move made sense as the Mets needed arms, and Carrasco was coming off a season where he posted a 97 ERA+ and 3.53 FIP.
By all accounts, Carrasco looked to be a serviceable fifth starter. If he didn’t pan out, this Mets team has shown they are able to recognize a sunk cost. However, things do not appear that way to start the season.
On the latter point, the Mets pitching depth is already being tested. Justin Verlander and José Quintana began the season on the IL. That means their starting pitching depth of Tylor Megill and David Peterson began the season in the rotation. Down in Triple-A, Jose Butto and Joey Lucchesi got hit around in their first starts of the season.
That means, at least for right now, the Mets need Carrasco to be good. He was anything but that to start the season.
Carrasco was alright the first two innings not allowing a run. From there, it would slowly unravel starting with a Jesse Winker RBI single in the third. Brian Anderson piled on with a two run homer in the fourth.
The wheels came completely off in the fifth. He started the inning by walking Christian Yelich and Winker leading Buck Showalter to come get him. Both of the inherited runners would score as Tommy Hunter struggled out of the bullpen. After all was said and done, the Brewers led 10-0 after the fifth inning with Carrasco being tagged with five earned runs.
There were many things wrong with Carrasco. He lost 2-3 MPH on his fastball as the game progressed. Before this season, he was a slow methodical pitcher. IN his first start of the season, he appeared rushed by the pitch clock. In fact, he would receive a pitch clock violation before his first pitch of the season.
Carlos Carrasco receives a pitch clock violation before he throws his first pitch of the season pic.twitter.com/jfZFuYb38N— SNY (@SNYtv) April 3, 2023
The home plate umpire would talk with Carrasco on a few occasions about the pitch clock. For his part, Carrasco was clearly impacted by the pitch clock. As he would say after the game, “It is crazy. I only have 15 seconds. it is what it is right now.” (Tim Britton, The Athletic).
As noted by Britton, fatigue might’ve played a role. Carrasco would throw 27 pitches over a 10 minute period in the third. He then threw 29 pitches over 11 minutes in the fourth. Over a stretch of 42 minutes, Carrasco threw 67 pitches.
Carrasco admitted to fatigue. We saw that both in his velocity and the Brewers bats squaring him up. The question for him and the Mets going forward is whether Carrasco can adjust. In his first start, the answer was a clear and resounding no for the 36 year old hurler. Given the state of the Mets rotation, he is going to have to figure it out right now because the Mets cannot afford him being non-competitive and unable to adjust to the pitch clock right now.