The New York Mets lead the NL East and are aiming for continued success as the postseason draws near. However, they are going to be without a key piece to the puzzle heading into the stretch run. Mets beat writer Antony DiComo reports that starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco will miss 3-4 weeks due to a low-grade oblique strain.

Fortunately for the Mets, they have plenty of pitching depth. But Carrasco is undeniably a valuable part of their rotation. His veteran prowess on the mound provides reliability for Buck Showalter's rotation.

Carlos Carrasco's numbers on the season are not eye-popping by any means. The right-hander owns a 3.92 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 124 strikeouts. But as aforementioned, he's a staple of reliability when healthy and on the mound. The Mets will miss him down the stretch. But they are hopeful that Carrasco can return for the playoffs.

It should be noted that the Mets' biggest threat in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers, lost ace Walker Buehler for the year after he underwent surgery. And yes, the Dodgers also feature impressive pitching depth. But Buehler's absence could give the Mets a leg up in a potential playoff series. And New York would gain even more of an advantage if Carlos Carrasco is able to return ahead of the postseason.

Although Carrasco's injury obviously isn't the best news, there is reason to remain optimistic in New York.

David Peterson and Trevor Williams are the main candidates to replace Carlos Carrasco in the Mets starting rotation.