The Mets have had the injury bug bite them in recent weeks, most recently with starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco.
Carrasco suffered a low-grade oblique strain during his start in Atlanta on Monday and will miss three to four weeks,The injury weakens the rotation amid arguably the team’s toughest stretch of the season as it faces an NL East gauntlet (Braves, Phillies) before playing the Yankees, getting a reprieve against the Rockies, and then playing the Dodgers to end the month.
It’s a brutal time to be without Carrasco, but at least Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are pitching. The middle of the rotation will need some massaging by manager Buck Showalter.
Not that Showalter is a stranger to juggling his rotation. The Mets have also dealt with injuries to deGrom, Scherzer, Tylor Megill and Taijuan Walker this season. Yet they’re 75-41 heading into Tuesday’s game against Braves and first in a hyper-competitive division.
Who will replace Carlos Carrasco in the Mets’ rotation?
David Peterson is the most likely to fill in for Carrasco in the immediate future. The team will also need a spot starter Saturday for one game of a doubleheader against the Phillies. Peterson, who was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after deGrom was activated, has posted a 3.30 ERA in 18 appearances (14 starts) this season for New York.
Down the road, the Mets may entertain the idea of putting Megill back into the rotation. Before a shoulder injury placed him on the injured list, he had posted a 4.67 ERA in nine starts, although his FIP was more encouraging than Peterson’s.
Although the Mets like Megill out of the bullpen, they may well put him back in the rotation if Peterson struggles out of the gate. Megill had his first bullpen session since the injury at Citi Field on Sunday. The is targeting a late-August or early-September return for the right-hander.
Tylor Megill is throwing a bullpen session today at Citi Field:
— SNY (@SNYtv)
Trevor Williams is also expected to get spot starts.
Mets’ projected rotation
Who else is injured for the Mets?
The Mets are battling injuries at several other positions. Infielder Luis Guillorme (groin) is on the IL and is expected to return the second week of September. Infielder Eduardo Escobar (side) is still active but limited. Catcher Tomas Nido (COVID) will be out for a few days.
If there’s a silver lining to the Guillorme news, it’s that the Mets have reportedly called up their No. 2-ranked prospect, third baseman Brett Baty..
Baty batted .312/.406/.544 at Double-A Binghamton this year and then hit .364 in six games at Syracuse.
One big question, of course, is what Baty’s arrival means for the Mets’ top prospect, catcher Francisco Alvarez. The team continues to be conservative with him.
What is the Mets’ upcoming schedule?
The Mets have an absolute bear of an upcoming schedule. Once they exit their NL East gauntlet on Sunday, they’ll travel across town to the Bronx for a Subway Series matchup against the Yankees. After a quick romp hosting the Rockies, they’ll get back to the grind by hosting the Dodgers.
|Aug. 16||at Braves|
|Aug. 17||at Braves|
|Aug. 18||at Braves|
|Aug. 19||at Phillies|
|Aug. 20||at Phillies (DH)|
|Aug. 21||at Phillies|
|Aug. 22||at Yankees|
|Aug. 23||at Yankees|
|Aug. 25||vs. Rockies|
|Aug. 26||vs. Rockies|
|Aug. 27||vs. Rockies|
|Aug. 28||vs. Rockies|
|Aug. 30||vs. Dodgers|
|Aug. 31||vs. Dodgers|
|Sept. 1||vs. Dodgers|
With the NL East race shaping up to remain tight, this will be a pivotal stretch for the Mets, who will need immediate help from Baty to weather the storm.
Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Braves were 4.5 games behind the Mets and the hot Phillies were 10.5 games back. More importantly, this is a test of the Mets’ mettle; they have dealt with injuries all year and have continually bounced back.
September will be easier, with series against the Nationals, Pirates, Marlins, Cubs and Pirates again before playing the Brewers and finishing the month against the Athletics and Marlins. In other words, they’ll have a chance to blow the race open down the stretch.
In the meantime, however, they’ll have to endure a difficult schedule amid a run of injuries. With Carrasco missing time, Showalter will pad his NL Manager of the Year resume if he can successfully navigate this stretch.