Carlos Carrasco made 12 starts for the New York Mets in 2021 and the results were not promising. After missing the first few months of the season, he joined the club right before the season began to spiral out of control.
The first impression was not a good one in 2021 or in the first innings he pitched.
Carrasco quickly became notorious for getting pummeled early in games. A key factor to his struggles, just how bad was he?
Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco needs to figure out how to get the first three outs
In 63 first inning plate appearances against Carrasco, hitters slashed .404/.444/.877 with 8 home runs. They rocked him for a 13.50 ERA in those 12 innings. The first batter of the game showed him little mercy. They went 7 for 10 with a pair of walks against the veteran righty.
An early hit might not be the most devastating for a pitcher. The struggles were deeper than this.
With 0 outs, hitters slashed .305/.337/.500 against him with 4 home runs. Batters were actually able to tag him for the most home runs with two outs. In 73 trips to the plate, they went yard 5 times versus Carrasco while slashing .261/.301/.536.
In an unlikely turn, Carrasco managed to perform much better the later into the game he got. He somehow had a 1.80 ERA in the fourth inning. Those middle frames had a 2.75 ERA overall. The unfortunate part of this success is that he only logged 19.2 innings of work during those frames.
Because of so much missed time, Carrasco’s sample size is quite small and likely doesn’t define what lies ahead for him. We don’t know how much the injury played a factor in his struggles. The mental aspect of missing so much time and jumping onto a big league mound in the middle of July with a new club could have played a factor, too.
There should be some fear that Carrasco will no longer be able to get back to what he once was. He turns 35 in March and as many pitchers will do, this is an age when breaking down tends to happen.
Everyone only gets one chance to make a first impression. In year one with the Mets and far too regularly in his starts, Carrasco was memorable for the wrong reasons.