The Mets aimed for their first sweep of the season against the struggling Miami Marlins with super prospect Francisco Álvarez making his season debut, but early struggles from Carlos Carrasco sunk them as the Marlins won 7-2 Sunday afternoon in New York. Carrasco looked to redeem his four-inning, five-run loss against the Milwaukee Brewers last week, but as many of Carrasco’s appearances go, it did not start well.
Returning to the top of the lineup, Jazz Chisholm Jr. sent Carrasco’s second pitch into right field for a leadoff single. Chisholm then stole second and third base while a Luis Arráez walk put runners on the corners with one out. Bryan De La Cruz then smoked a hanging slider off the Great Wall of Flushing to give the Marlins an early 3-0 lead as Carrasco maintained his early-inning struggles.
Starling Marte exited the game with a strained neck after hitting a one-out double, stealing third base, and slamming his head into Jean Segura’s knee on a headfirst slide in the bottom of the first inning. He finished the inning stranded on third and was taken out immediately after, and the Mets waited until the following inning to get on the scoreboard.
Jeff McNeil’s double to right field put runners on second and third base, and Francisco Álvarez opened his season with a one-out, opposite-field RBI single, scoring Mark Canha. That’s all they could muster, however, as the Mets finished the second inning down 3-1.
Carrasco settled down with 1-2-3 innings in the second and third but allowed a walk and a single to De La Cruz and Yuli Gurriel, respectively, to lead off the fourth. He left the inning clean, however, as Francisco Lindor and Luis Guillorme turned a Hollywood-worthy double play on Jean Segura. Unfortunately for the Mets, that would be his last clean inning.
A one-out walk from McNeil in the bottom of the fourth and a double off the left-field tarp from Eduardo Escobar set the table once again for Álvarez, but he couldn’t deliver this time, striking out on a slider in the dirt. Tim Locastro came inches away from tying the game on a blooper to left, but De La Cruz’s sliding catch ended the inning and sustained the Marlins’ lead.
Back-to-back one-out singles from Jon Berti and Chisholm (with a Berti stolen base sprinkled in between) gave the Marlins a 4-1 lead in the top of the fifth. Garrett Cooper then cranked a two-run shot on another hanging slider, extending the lead to 6-1 and ballooning Carrasco’s ERA above 11. He faced a few more batters and eventually exited after allowing a walk with two outs in the fifth, while a two-out RBI single from Pete Alonso in the bottom of the inning cut the lead to 6-2.
The loss spoiled an otherwise fine season debut for Álvarez. The Marlins challenged his defense stealing five total bases, but Álvarez made competitive throws the first three times and arguably was robbed on Berti’s fifth-inning steal (his errant throw on the Marlins’ fifth steal in the eighth inning marked the first error of the season for the Mets). And though he couldn’t come through in the fourth, his second-inning single marked the only run production for the Mets the first two times through the order.
His battery mate was the headline, however. Carrasco cruised the second time through the Marlins’ order but scuttled through the first and the third time, and two ill-advised hangers offered the Marlins all the opportunity they needed. A concern in his previous outing, Carrasco’s velocity didn’t appear to dip this time around, but the results were all the same. He didn’t get much help from his offense, either, as the Mets matched the Marlins hit-for-hit through most of the game but stranded ten runners on the bases.
The Mets host a three-game series against the Padres starting tomorrow at 7:10 ET, looking to avenge last year’s Wild Card disappointment. It could be the matchup of the night, too, as Max Scherzer is scheduled to face WBC champion Yu Darvish.
SB Nation Game Threads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jeff McNeil, 17.3% WPA
Big Mets loser: Carlos Carrasco, -34.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: -34.3% WPA
Mets hitters: -15.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Eduardo Escobar double
Teh sux0rest play: Bryan De La Cruz home run