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Mets sink the Pirates

That’s two wins in a row. Win tomorrow, and that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Mets beat the Pirates tonight by a score of 7-2. The wins don’t mean much anymore, but several of the players who are important pieces for 2024 had nice nights, which is good to see.

Carlos Carrasco, though, is not one of those players. He was anything but efficient tonight. It started with an eight-pitch at-bat to Connor Joe in the first inning, and it didn’t really get better from there. Carrasco wound up throwing 31 pitches in the first inning, in which he allowed a run, and was bailed out by Francisco Alcarez picking off a runner at first on a back pick to escape the inning. Without that, who knows how many more pitches he would’ve thrown in the inning.

Carrasco would wind up throwing a staggering 89 pitches in just three innings of work. He’d allow a second run to score in the third, but stranded the bases loaded in that inning. He struck out five and walked three in those three innings.

We are obviously very far beyond any hope of Carrasco turning it around in any meaningful way at this point. It’s a disappointing way to end to a lackluster Mets tenure for the 36-year-old, who figured to be a big piece in the rotation when he came over from Cleveland in 2021. He had a really solid 2022 season, but it’s sad to see someone who was one of the most consistent starting pitchers of the 2010s, and by all accounts a really great guy, go out this way.

Luckily, the Mets offense backed Carrasco in this one. After putting up seven runs yesterday against the Braves, they came back today and posted another seven spot against Quinn Priester and the Pirates.

Pete Alonso drove the first Mets run in in the first inning on an RBI double down the left field line, his 88th RBI of the season and the 468th of his career, tying Keith Hernandez in franchise history. Alonso is going to start chasing some serious franchise records if he stays healthy through the end of 2024, and that’s without a contract extension beyond that.

Daniel Vogelbach drove in the second run with a solo shot in the second inning, his ninth homer of the year. Vogelbach has been productive only in short spurts this year, but he has been in another spurt of production lately.

After the Pirates tied it at two in the third, Jeff McNeil untied it in the bottom half with an RBI single. Speaking of production, McNeil has been raging hot in the month of August and has looked like himself since around the trade deadline, so that might at least be something to build on for him for next year

In the fourth, surprise contributor Jonathan Arauz cranked his first homer as a Met, a two-run shot into the bullpens in right-center. Sure, why not? It was just his third hit as a Met in his 21st at bat. The Mets led a comfortable 5-2 at this point.

They would add two more, one on a McNeil sac fly in the fifth, and the other on a Brandon Nimmo solo shot to center. It was also his second hit of the night as he tries to break his lengthy slump.

Tyson Miller, Trevor Gott, Phil Bickford, Sam Coonrod and Adam Ottavino all combined for seven innings of shutout ball in relief to finish off the win, which is a sentence that is factually true about the New York Mets in the year 2023. How did we wind up here?

The Mets are fighting the Pirates for draft position, so beating them doesn’t really help with that, but I would argue that seeing McNeil, Nimmo, and other core Mets hitters break out of their months-long slumps and remain productive is more important for the team going forward than draft position.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Jonathan Arauz, +16.6% WPA

Big Mets loser: Carlos Carrasco, -9.1% WPA

Mets pitchers: +6.5% WPA

Mets hitters: +43.5% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Jonathan Arauz homers in the bottom of the fourth, +17.9% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Ke’Bryan Hayes hits an RBI double in the top of the third, -12.4% WPA