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Carlos Carrasco allows 6 ER in start, Mets get swept by Royals after 9-2 loss

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KANSAS CITY — This time last week, the Mets were still clinging to hope that they would keep the 2023 group together and have a shot at a run. But if there was ever a series that validated the front office’s decision to sell at the trade deadline, it was this one.

The Mets (50-58) were swept by the Kansas City Royals on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium in a 9-2 loss. They were defeated by the owners of the league’s second-worst record for the second game in a row.

The Mets were somewhat sloppy and listless in the series finale. It’s been a tough few days and while the team intends to keep playing solid baseball, motivation can wane in the days following the trade deadline.

“Our guys are motivated,” said manager Buck Showalter. “They have a lot of professional pride, but when you’re not pitching that well, it can look that way.”

Sure, the Mets were playing with a depleted roster, but there were several regulars in the lineup and a veteran on the mound in Carlos Carrasco. It was more of the same from Carrasco, who has battled through bone spurs and ineffectiveness all season.

“Carlos looked like he was not going to go very deep and then he battled his way through there,” Showalter said.

The right-hander allowed six earned runs on eight hits over six innings, walking one and striking out none. He pitched into the seventh inning but failed to get an out and was chased from the game after Drew Waters drove a three-run shot into the right field bleachers to put the Royals (35-75) up 6-0. This came after giving up three earned runs over the first two innings, including a home run to Bobby Witt Jr.

“I’m just trying to figure it out,” Carrasco said. “It’s one of those years where it’s really bad. I’m just trying to figure out how I can get un-bad. I just need to feel [like] myself again. Today, I felt like myself but I didn’t get the results. More important, I’m healthy, so I can go every five days. Pitch and just get it done.”

Right-hander John Curtiss replaced Carrasco (3-6) and got out of a two-on, two-out jam, but the damage was done. Carrasco has managed to go only seven innings once this season and has otherwise been ineffective. That one start came July 6 in Arizona when he blanked the Diamondbacks over eight innings. The Mets nearly sent him back out to complete the shutout.

That start looks more and more like an aberration. Carrasco now has a 6.60 ERA on the season.

“He’s not getting the ball where he wants to get it in the sequence of pitches,” Showalter said. “You see the hard-hit balls in 0-2 and 1-2 counts. That’s why his pitch count was so low. He was fortunate that there were a lot of hard-hit balls that we caught too, especially in center field and second base. We had some unconventional double plays.”

However, the Mets didn’t give him much to work with. Right-hander Brady Singer (7-8) tossed eight scoreless innings allowing only three hits and striking out four. Pete Alonso had two of the Mets’ three hits and Mark Vientos had the other one. All three were singles.

“I think we had about six balls hit right on the button,” Showalter said. “But they were mostly at infielders.”

The Mets were flummoxed at the plate, until Francisco Lindor’s ninth-inning home run.

Josh Walker allowed three runs (two earned) runs in a tough eighth inning. The rookie left-hander balked with the bases loaded before even throwing a pitch in the series opener Tuesday, handing Kansas City the walk-off. It was a tough week for the homegrown hurler, who is one of several young players auditioning for roles on the 2024 team.

The Mets replaced him with infielder Danny Mendick. Lindor took right-hander Jonathan Heasley deep for a two-run shot that prevented a shutout.

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