After 13 seasons in Major League Baseball, Carlos Carrasco has pitched in front of millions of fans — both loving and hostile — while carving out his place as a serviceable starter first in Cleveland and now with the Mets.
But one spectator in particular on Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field packed enough pressure to fill an entire stadium.
Carrasco toed the rubber in a major-league stadium with his dad, Luis, sitting behind home plate and in attendance to watch his son live for the first time ever in his 217th career start for the Mets’ series finale against the Washington Nationals.
“Think of the pressure on a guy, your dad is watching you pitch with the Mets for the first time,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s a lot of pressure, and you know you’ve got a hornet’s nest over there with Juan Soto, Josh Bell, and Nelson Cruz.”
Even Carrasco himself admitted that “it was really hard” to focus at times.
“First game,” he began, “I just wanted to go out there and do my best… be the best I could for my dad.”
What Luis saw was his son gut out five innings of scoreless ball while escaping a handful of sticky situations, including the third inning when Carrasco threw 11 straight balls on his way to walking the bases loaded with two outs.
He rediscovered his touch when it mattered most, striking out Yadiel Hernandez to the delight of his father, who pumped his fists in celebration.
Carlos Carrasco works himself out of trouble in the third, leaving the bases loaded
Dad loves it! pic.twitter.com/PibdFqLXpQ
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 1, 2022
“I was trying to look at him with the bases loaded after I struck him out. He was so happy,” Carrasco said. “It was really emotional, I almost cried. I’m glad he got to see it and enjoy the game.”
Carrasco struck out five on his way to a league-leading sixth victory this season while lowering his 2022 season ERA to 3.63, but the memorable moments with his dad didn’t finish there.
Following the Mets’ 5-0 victory — their sixth straight — Carrasco was joined by his father in the Mets’ clubhouse where the two received the team’s player of the game award, a WWE belt.
“He was here with us and every time we got the belt we had to dance,” Carrasco said. “He danced with me, it was really fun.”
Just another special moment for what is quickly becoming a special season in Queens.
“We’ve had a lot of emotional moments already this year, but his dad was in the locker room afterward,” manager Buck Showalter began. “If that doesn’t – they call it tug at your heart, but that was a full pull. He came in after the game, part of a postgame thing with him, but it meant a lot to him.”
“Through my career, I had a lot of ups and downs but this is going to go in a special place for me,” Carrasco said. “My mom saw me pitch in 2015. My dad couldn’t see me. Almost seven years later, my dad made it. It’s going to go in a special place.”