Carlos Carrasco's strong start, Ronny Mauricio stays hot, and a new roster race begins
The Mets had both Joey Lucchesi and Tylor Megill pitch in relief of Carlos Carrasco as they search for options to replace José Quintana in the rotation
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets and Astros played to a 5-5 tie in West Palm Beach on Tuesday (box)
Carlos Carrasco allowed only a run over three innings in his second start of the spring, and Tylor Megill threw 2.1 scoreless innings in relief, although he did issue two walks
John Curtiss - a candidate for the bullpen - continued his strong spring with a scoreless inning, although Joey Lucchesi - who could now be vying for a spot in the rotation - allowed a run with two walks in one inning of relief
Ronny Mauricio continued his convincing spring with a two-run single in the seventh inning
Darin Ruf, who had been sidelined with wrist soreness, made his spring debut on Tuesday, started at first base and went 0-for-3 at the plate
Danny Mendick (recovery from ACL surgery) will make his spring debut today against Team Nicaragua
Starling Marte (recovery from core muscle surgery) is expected to make his spring debut this weekend
Today’s Game 🦩
Game 1️⃣2️⃣ of 3️⃣0️⃣
Match-up: WBC Team Nicaragua vs. Mets
Where: Clover Park - Port St. Lucie, Florida
Starters: RHP JC Ramirez vs. RHP Max Scherzer
When: 6:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: (not televised)
Context for the loss of José Quintana, and mitigating an even wider innings gap… ✍🏻
On Tuesday night in West Palm Beach, the Mets began to seriously explore their options to replace José Quintana in the rotation, having both Joey Lucchesi and Tylor Megill throw in relief of Carlos Carrasco.
It was an up and down night for both Lucchesi and Megill - Lucchesi allowed two walks and a run in an inning of work, and Megill had to dance around two walks thanks to three strikeouts over his 2.1 innings of work.
Of course, as we always say, the process is what matters most for both pitchers and not so much the results. But the results usually are indicative of where they might stand in what has all of a sudden become a legitimate race for a spot in the rotation over the next three weeks.
The Mets will need a fifth starter immediately out of the gate on Tuesday, April 4 in Milwaukee, but will have some flexibility in the rotation with off-days on April 7 and April 13. Whether or not they take such liberties remain to be seen and if I were to wager, they won’t in an effort to keep their rotation rested and in a regular cadence in the early part of the season.
Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.
I’ve spoken a lot about how the Mets might choose to manage the stamina and health of their aging rotation and specifically, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Realistically, the Mets should expect both of these pitchers to give them 25 starts a piece, meaning the Mets already needed to find another 55-75 innings from other starters, or about starts.
With Quintana out for an indefinite period of time as he recovers from a stress fracture in his rib, the Mets now know they have an additional innings gap to fill.
For arguments sake, lets say Quintana is out until June 15. And, lets say that’s a 12 start gap. If his 5.1 IP per start from 2022 is any indication, that’s a 60-65 inning gap the Mets have to fill with Quintana’s absence alone.
Conservatively, lets assume the Mets already knew they needed to find 65 innings while they rest an otherwise healthy Verlander and Scherzer this season. Between Quintana’s absence and the management of their aces, the Mets already know they need to find 125 - 130 innings from other pitchers, and that’s without throwing a single pitch in 2023.
In other words, the Mets automatically know they’ll likely need at least a full slate from another starting pitcher.
It’s easy to say that starting pitcher might be Megill, or Lucchesi, or David Peterson, or Elieser Hernandez, or someone who begins to stand out at Triple-A we haven’t talked about, or maybe someone outside the organization. Maybe they will fill the gap with, “openers” and bullpen games. Maybe it’s a combination of all of that.
Who knows? After all, these are the Mets and they are always full of surprises.
The question will always be around the quality of the innings other pitchers will provide in place of their absent starters. Peterson of course has stood out more than any of their currently available options, and he was arguably the savior of their rotation last year as they dealt with long absences from Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
Needless to say, Peterson filled those gaps with quality innings, and he deserves a first shot at doing so again.
But it won’t be just Peterson since he would just account for a part of that gap. That’s where the Megills, Lucchesis and Hernandezes of the world suddenly become more and immediately valuable to the Mets.
And whenever Quintana comes back, we all know this will be a rinse and repeat conversation again.
Around the League 🚩
The Rays are discussing a long-term extension with top infield prospect Curtis Mead (ESPN)
The Astros want to lock both LHP Framber Valdez and OF Kyle Tucker up to extensions, but face challenges in doing so and the Astros have set a deadline for tomorrow with both players (New York Post)
It’s unclear whether or not RHP Jake Odorizzi will be ready for opening day as he continues to deal with arm fatigue (Dallas Morning News)
OF Lorenzo Cain announced he will retire as a Royal during a celebration in Kansas City this season (ESPN)
Justin Turner took a pitch to the face and required stitches to repair a laceration, but suffered no fractures - it is unclear when he will be able to return (MLB.com)