Carlos Carrasco’s performance Thursday night was a microcosm of his brief tenure in Flushing: A scary start, but a steady finish as the Mets beat the Marlins 4-3 at Citi Field.
The right-hander gave up a home run to Miami shortstop Miguel Rojas on the first pitch he threw, before an RBI single from Jazz Chisholm Jr. made it a two-run game on Carrasco’s 12th pitch of the night. A shaky start, much like his first four appearances for the Mets, in which his ERA ballooned to as high as 10.32.
In seven starts as a Met, Carrasco, who didn’t make his debut with the team until July 30 after tearing his right hamstring during spring training, has given up 21 earned runs — 12 of which have come in the first inning.
“The first inning, it’s a funny thing with him,” manager Luis Rojas said after the Mets kept their winning streak alive. “This happened to him a couple times. Then you see him getting better as the game progresses.”
After Jonathan Villar answered with his own homer to lead off the bottom of the first and cut the Mets’ deficit 2-1, Carrasco settled down. He didn’t give up another hit until the fifth inning. By the time he left, after 5 ¹/₃ innings, he had allowed four hits, three earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts.
Carrasco, who was acquired from Cleveland, with shortstop Francisco Lindor, in January, has pitched to a 4.15 ERA over his last three starts, lowering his season ERA to 6.59. He also has been able to pitch at least into the fifth inning or later over those starts, including a solid seven-inning outing in the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Giants last week.
“His stuff is just tremendous,” Rojas said. “Everything, the changeup, the slider, the changeup is elite against both righties and lefties. And then the fastball just plays everywhere. He has natural movement, he can cut the ball, has probably no idea when he cuts and the ball sinks, too. I don’t know if he’s trying to sink.
“[He’s] just one of those tough pitchers that has that movement that will just mess up a hitter.”
The Mets haven’t been able to get an extended look at Carrasco yet, considering he tore his hamstring in a running drill during spring training. He was placed on the 60-day injured list in early May, but was activated in late July and made his Mets debut against the Reds on July 30. The first pitch Carrasco threw in a Mets uniform was hit for a home run by Jonathan India.