Eduardo Escobar regained his strength, Carlos Carrasco bounced back and the Mets took it back, winning their 18th series of 24 matchups this season.
Escobar homered for a third game in a row in the Mets’ 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Sunday-afternoon at Citi Field. His breakdown is apparently in the rearview mirror. The third baseman led off July with six RBI and three homeruns in three games. His two-run blast off Jon Gray in the fourth inning on Sunday gave the Amazin’s the last lead they needed to overthrow Texas.
“It’s very hard when you’re having a hard time and thinking too much,” Escobar said. “Whatever you do in your life – player, lawyer, whatever – if you think too much, you have problems. But if I come here happy every day, then it’s very good.”
The Mets (49-30) took two out of three of the Rangers to wrap up their five-game homestand, which started with some nasty losses to the Astros. They are 18-5-2 this year. The club will enjoy a lucky flight to Cincinnati, where they start a three-game series against the Reds on Monday.
Carrasco (9-7, 4.64 ERA) finally has a solid start to build for his next timeout. The veteran righthander held the Rangers to one run on six hits, struckout eight batters and walked one in 5.2 innings and 102 pitches. Carrasco is tied for the third most wins in MLB.
“It feels good,” Carrasco said of his outing. “Today I used more of my breakballs and went in and out with my fastball as well. That combination was great today.”
After two consecutive poor performances against the Astros, conceding 11 earned runs in 6.2 innings, Carrasco was once again confident in his pitching mechanics against Texas. The key to Carrasco’s success has been the execution of his secondary pitches, and the 17 gadgets he got on his change-up, slider, sinker and curveball combined were an indication of how good he was feeling on Sunday.
But no one enjoyed the Rangers series more than Escobar. Consistency will be key for the third baseman as he will try to hold on to his hot streak to finish the first half of the season. Escobar told himself a few days ago that it was a new month with new opportunities to shake off his disappointing results. At least the pep talk has worked so far.
“You hate to see good people, good teammates and good competitors struggle like this,” Buck Showalter said of Escobar. “It’s painful. But through thick and thin, he hasn’t changed – effort or defense.”
July was kind to the 12-year big league veteran, who has the strength to crush 20 or more homeruns per season. Escobar has won nine dingers in 72 games so far this year, with the All-Star break in just over a few weeks. Escobar said the only adjustment he made leading up to his fine run against the Rangers was his mentality.
“I think the most important thing for me is to come in here and have fun,” said Escobar. “I’m just in control of working hard every day and playing happy and hard here. If I don’t homer, I don’t homer. Helping the team win is the most important thing.”