By Joe Rini
NEW YORK, Jul 3 — The New York Mets defeated the Texas Rangers 4–1 at Citi Field on Sunday, powered by Eduardo Escobar. The suddenly hot Escobar hit his third home run in three days. Recovering from two rough outings, starter Carlos Carrasco raised his record to 9–4. The Mets won the weekend series two games to one. The victory also earned Buck Showalter his 1,600th win in his managerial career.
Suddenly Hot Escobar Homers Again
Starling Marte homered in the first inning for the second day in a row to give the Mets the early 1–0 lead. However, the Rangers evened the score on Jonah Heim’s lead-off home run in the top of the third off Carrasco. Two outs later, the Rangers threatened with runners on second and third, but Carrasco retired Corey Seager on a ground ball to second base to end the threat.
An error by Heim in the bottom of the fourth inning lead to three quick runs by the Mets. After Pete Alonso seemingly struck out swinging to lead off the inning, the ball skipped to the backstop. As Alonso raced to first, Heim’s throw sailed beyond first baseman Nathaniel Lowe into right field. Instead of walking back to the dugout, Alonso advanced to second base with nobody out. Jeff McNeil promptly doubled on Jon Gray’s next pitch down the right field line scoring Alonso; the next batter Escobar subsequently homered and the Mets led 4–1 after four innings.
After hitting .207 in June, the Mets hope this weekend is the start of a surge by the suddenly hot Escobar. After the game, Showalter praised Escobar as a player and person.
Carrasco and the Bullpen
The outing by Carrasco eased the minds of concerned Mets fans. After being blasted by the Rangers’ neighbors to the Southeast, the Houston Astros, in consecutive outings, Carrasco limited the Rangers to one run in 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight batters. Joely Rodriguez retired Kole Calhoun in relief of Carrasco after Seager and Lowe singled to put runners on first and third. After Rodriguez and Adam Ottavino pitched scoreless innings, Edwin Diaz retired the Rangers in the ninth inning for his 18th save of the season.
LWOB Questions to Showalter
The Mets’ win upped their NL East lead to 3.5 games over the Atlanta Braves. In response to a question from LWOB about handling the ups and downs of the season, Showalter said, “I try not to dwell on the past and what it means for the future to try and predict stuff.” Showalter noted the limits of using analytics to predict outcomes. “Then all of a sudden the game starts and it doesn’t follow any of that. It’s a human being with a heartbeat.”
LWOB also asked Showalter about the improvement by Dom Smith since his recall from Triple-A. “He’s been swinging the bat good. He’s been swinging the bat a lot more aggressively…he has some malice on his mind when he swinging the bat. Noting the left-handed-hitting Smith’s doubling to left-center in the sixth inning, Showalter said, “Glenn (Sherlock) said to me, ‘That’s the guy I remember when he was going really well.’ That was good to see and good to hear.” The next stop for the Mets is a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.