With less than three weeks to go until Opening Day, Carrasco hasn’t pitched in a single game. Not one inning, not one pitch. After the debacle that was Jed Lowrie, who was constantly hurt, Mets fans have a real distrust regarding the training staff, and hearing that it’s just a mild elbow strain doesn’t sit well.
Carrasco was supposed to be the Mets #3 starter and a “steal” at that. He’s thrown in a total of 35 games the past two seasons, last season was a short one, for various reasons. 2018 was the last time the starter had a winning record, and now he will be 34 before the season starts. He is throwing on Sunday, that’s it, just throwing. Carrasco is way behind schedule.
David Petersen is now a virtual lock with Jordan Yamamoto and Joey Lucchesi battling. Marcus Stroman is the #2 and Taijuan Walker is the #3. The rest is up for grabs unless something miraculous happens. This pitching staff can take a downturn if Carrasco misses significant time.
The Cincinnati Reds will be without Joey Votto who tested positive for COVID-19. They say it’s an “indefinite” period. It will be interesting to see who might play that position while Votto is out. The Reds don’t have much depth there. Cheslor Cuthbert has the most experience, but his hitting has fallen off. Votto is a fixture in Cincinnati, so this could impact the club out of the gate.
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In San Diego, Fernando Tatis Jr. is already wowing the “crowds” in spring training. In a recent game, when a batted ball glanced off the pitcher, with Tatis on first, while the second baseman made the putout throw to first, Tatis took third! Then when a ball was hit just beyond the infield, so no infield fly rule was in effect when the ball was caught, Tatis tagged up even with a good throw. That’s the kind of hustle that’s missing from the game. That’s exciting baseball.
Last year Tatis scored 50 runs in 59 games. This spring, he has five in six games. In 2000, Jeff Bagwell scored 152 runs with the Houston Astros. That is the highest total since Lou Gehrig scored 167 in 1936, good for fourth all-time. Gehrig accomplished that in 155 games. I think Tatis can get Bagwell’s mark which is 29th all-time and the Gehrig mark isn’t out of the question if the Padres hit as well as we all think they should. The major league record was set by Billy Hamilton in 1894 when he scored 192 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Only Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson have more steals than Hamilton. Tatis won’t steal 100, but if he can score more runs than Gehrig, that would be something. That’s still a stat that Sabermetrics folks and writers like me can agree upon as to its importance in the sport.