Fri Jul 30 2:39am ET
The New York Mets have waited more than half a season for Carlos Carrasco to make his Big Apple debut. However, when he takes the mound Friday night, he may not even be the most notable recent addition to the Mets' roster.
The trade deadline will be freshly in the rearview mirror when Carrasco throws his first pitch for the Mets in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.
Carrasco (3-4, 2.91 ERA in 2020) is slated to oppose Sonny Gray (2-6, 4.50 ERA in 2021) in a battle of right-handers.
Both teams played matinees Thursday.
The host Mets fell to the Atlanta Braves 6-3, while Joey Votto continued his historic home run surge to lead the Reds past the host Chicago Cubs 7-3.
Carrasco was expected to slot into the No. 2 spot in the Mets' rotation when he was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on Jan. 7 along with shortstop Francisco Lindor. However, Carrasco tore his right hamstring during spring training -- the first of a litany of injuries sustained by New York starting pitchers.
Eight starters have spent time on the injured list, and that is where three members of the Mets' season-opening rotation -- two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom as well as left-handers David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi -- currently reside.
The Mets, who have led the National League East for 83 consecutive days, acquired Rich Hill from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 23.
Even so, with Hill and Carrasco both likely to be on pitch counts for the remainder of the season -- Hill is the majors' oldest active pitcher at 41 years old while Carrasco threw just 6 2/3 innings over three rehab starts -- New York has been linked to almost every starting pitcher on the market as it looks to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
On Thursday afternoon, though, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was more excited about the return of Carrasco than the possible arrival of anyone else.
"It's going to be awesome," said Alonso, who insisted he didn't know the trade deadline was Friday. "We're kind of banged up right now, obviously, and to be able to get a starting pitcher back, it's going to be awesome -- not just for us but it's going to be really special for him."
Votto is in the midst of one of the most special stretches of a stellar career. He has homered in six straight games -- a record for the Reds, whose history dates back to 1869 -- and has eight homers during the streak.
Votto's infield single in the sixth inning Thursday was his first hit that wasn't a homer since his streak began last Saturday.
"I'm trying to homer," Votto said with a deadpan grin. "That's the difference."
The Reds have also been active leading up to the trade deadline.
Cincinnati, which sits five games behind the San Diego Padres in the race for the second National League wild-card and seven games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, acquired relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson from the New York Yankees for a player to be named on Wednesday.
Gray took the loss Sunday, when he gave up eight runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings as the Reds fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 10-6.
Carrasco is 4-0 with a 3.43 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against the Reds. Gray is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.
--Field Level Media