Sunday, April 9, 2023

Mets Can't Finish Off Marlins As Carrasco Has Another Tough Outing; Alvarez Debuts

Bryan De La Cruz approaching the plate on his three-run home run in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Miami Marlins, backed by home runs from Bryan De La Cruz and Garrett Cooper, beat the Mets, 7-2, on Sunday afternoon to avoid getting swept. 

The Mets' record is now 5-5, and next up is a three-game set with the San Diego Padres, who ousted the Mets in the National League Wild Card round in last year's playoffs.

Miami wasted no time getting to Mets starter Carlos Carrasco, as Jazz Chisholm opened the game with a single, then stole both second and third bases, and Luis Arraez walked before De La Cruz crushed one to left for a three-run home run.

This was not the start the Mets wanted to see for Carrasco, who had a tough season debut in Milwaukee last Monday, and the bottom of the first was not any easier for them.

Starling Marte got a one-out double, and then he stole third base. He came up in a but of pain, and at first the fear was he hurt his right hand, which had no protection, heading into the bag, while his left was in the "oven mitt" glove. He stayed in to complete the inning, but did not come back out for the second, and has been ruled as "day to day" with a sprained neck.

In the bottom of the second, the Mets got to Braxton Garrett. Mark Canha singled, Jeff McNeil then hit a double into right field, and after Eduardo Escobar struck out, Francisco Alvarez got an RBI single to start his season debut in style, and make it 3-1 Miami.

Francisco Alvarez making the turn at first base, as Mark Canha approaches the plate. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets had another chance to tie it in the fourth when, with one out, McNeil walked and Escobar doubled, but this time, Alvarez struck out and Tim Locastro flew out to left field, as De La Cruz made a running catch.

In the top of the fifth, with one out, Jon Berti led off with a single, stole second, and Chisholm, Jr. singled him in. Garrett Cooper was up next, and he hit a shot to left for a two-run homer and that opened up a 6-1 lead for the Marlins.

Carrasco then got Arraez to fly out to left field and then he walked De La Cruz, and that was it for his day.

The final line for Carrasco was: 4 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 6 runs (earned), 3 walks, 1 strikeout, and his ERA (earned run average) is 11.42 on the season.

The Mets got one back in the bottom of the fifth when Pete Alonso got an RBI single to make it 6-2 Miami. Mark Canha followed with a double, and that chased Garrett from the game. 

Tanner Scott came out of the Miami bullpen, and he walked McNeil to load the bases, and then got Escobar to bounce into a force out to end the inning. 

Scott stayed on to pitch the sixth, and it was enough to earn the victory.

A running theme throughout the game was Chisholm, Jr, drawing the ire of Mets fans. In the third, after he worked the count to 3-0, he twice flipped his bat, thinking he drew a walk, and each time they were called strikes. He eventually grounded out.

In the seventh, he did the same thing, but this time it was on a full count, so he was struck out by Mets reliever Stephen Nogosek, and the home plate umpire Jeff Nelson ejected him. That elicited a big cheer from the Mets crowd.

Jazz Chisholm, Jr. (2) looking back at home plate umpire Jeff Nelson after his ejection. Photo by Jason Schott.

Alvarez finished his day 1-for-4, with an RBI and he struck out twice.

Mets Manager Buck Showalter was asked before the game when has impressed him the most about Alvarez, and where he can improve offensively, and with a reference to actor Kevin Costner, he said, “Coachable. Knew what he didn’t know. I mean, he was a sponge, really wants it for the right reasons. I think I was impressed, and he always would watch how players kind of are drawn or not drawn to somebody. He’s a very consistent personality, same, you know, the baseball part of it, very engaging in the pitching part of it, game-calling and framing. (Catching coach) Glenn (Sherlock) would be a better person to ask, but you tell him something, show him something he needs to get better at, he’s got a real thirst for trying to improve on things that he may not be as good as - he wants to be perfect, and we know that’s a tough job; he handles the ball a lot, and it’s fun to watch him progress.

”Well, I think like a lot of young players, it’s staying away from the emotional at-bat, you know, where the crowd’s on its feet, or maybe on the road, where the crowd’s on their feet for their pitcher, and being able to - you’ve seen that scene in “For Love Of The Game” with Kevin Costner, where it’s…clear the mechanism. You need to watch that movie, I think it’s very underrated. He makes great sports movies, Hollywood doesn’t always embrace him because of other reasons. Did you ever see “Waterworld?” That was out there! Did you see “The Postman?” That was out there, too. He played baseball, I think, at Cal State-Fullerton, that’s why he has such a good feel for it…

Francisco Alvarez and Francisco Lindor with Carlos Carrasco on the mound in the fourth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

“I think the emotional part, really, (Alvarez) just, like a lot of young players up here, and veteran players, they get themselves out, that’s what’s been so, it’s proud for me the past couple days is how our guys have really made them get them out, instead of getting themselves out. He stays in the zone, doesn’t get too big. He’s got a chance to be an offensive contributor, but the priority, and I think he understands it, is catching. He’s gonna impact the team the most there.” 

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