ATLANTA — The Mets received a 13-1 Atlanta thrashing on Monday night in a game that featured DH/first baseman Darin Ruf pitching two scoreless innings, included a rain delay that lasted nearly an hour and ended at 11:33 p.m. And that might not have been the worst part of their night.
Carlos Carrasco exited after two innings and 51 pitches because of tightness in his left side, a potential threat to a rotation that has been the Mets’ strength of late. He’ll get an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the issue, which popped up only on his last pitch, he said.
Carrasco and manager Buck Showalter wanted to limit their public concern until they learned more.
“It just got tight a little bit, and I don’t want to push more,” Carrasco said. “We’re just going to wait till tomorrow, how it feels tomorrow and then we go from there.”
Showalter said: “That one pitch got him . . . We’ll wait till we get the tests back and see what we’re dealing with.”
Carrasco grabbed at the area after completing the bottom of the second. He threw 27 pitches, sat through the 55-minute delay as storms passed through the area and returned to finish the frame with five more pitches. He and Showalter downplayed the idea that the delay affected him.
The injury was an unfortunate development for Carrasco, who has enjoyed a big-time bounce-back season as a 35-year-old. He had been particularly effective since the start of July, too, posting a 1.69 ERA with nearly four strikeouts for every walk in eight starts.
Carrasco was lined up to start one of two games against the Phillies on Saturday. If he isn’t ready, the next pitcher up probably would be righthander Trevor Williams (with lefthander David Peterson already scheduled to be promoted from the minors for the other game).
The first sign that this would not be Carrasco’s night came in the first inning, when Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley rocketed line drives, though Atlanta did not score.
The Mets (75-31) weren’t as lucky in the second inning, when William Contreras and Eddie Rosario hit back-to-back home runs. Ronald Acuna Jr. added what was scored as an RBI double but really was a routine fly that leftfielder Mark Canha seemed to lose in the lights and/or the oddly lit sky, moments before the deluge began.
Atlanta (71-46) scored eight runs in the sixth off Adonis Medina and Mychal Givens, effectively ending the game and cutting the Mets’ NL East lead to 4 1⁄2 games. Seven consecutive batters reached to open the inning. Former Met Travis d’Arnaud punctuated the rally with a three-run home run. Acuna (three doubles) and Swanson each totaled three RBIs.
A week after complaining that the Mets had “a lot of luck” in reaching him for four runs and six hits in 2 2⁄3 innings at Citi Field, rookie flamethrower Spencer Strider was much better this time. He gave up one run and three hits — two that didn’t leave the infield — in five innings.
Strider gutted it out for 87 pitches, a high total considering he went 77 minutes between ending the top of the second and beginning the top of the third.
Ruf, making the second pitching appearance of his career, got through his pair of innings on 14 pitches. It was the first time this year that the Mets used a position player on the mound.
The key to shutting down this powerful Atlanta lineup?
“Throw 55, 60 miles an hour,” Ruf said. “When you’re a position player, you just try to throw strikes, try to get the guys who have been on the field the whole game — and for a long time — off as quickly as possible.”