Edwin Diaz had a miserable season for the New York Mets in 2019. He lost his closer role while allowing 15 home runs in the ninth inning. Diaz was given a chance to start this shortened 60-game season as the closer. But it has not worked out.
The trade that general manager Brodie Van Wagenen made before last year has simply not worked out. It was one of the first big moves he made as the general manager of the Mets. Van Wagenen gave up a pair of prospects in Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn and have received little contributions from Robinson Cano and Diaz.
Start of 2020 Season
In his first appearance with the Mets, Edwin Diaz nearly gave you a game-tying home run to Freddie Freeman. He survived the ninth inning and registered his first save of the year. However, he did blow the save on Saturday. With the Atlanta Braves down their final strike, Diaz allowed a game-tying home run to Marcell Ozuna. The Mets went on to lose the game in extra innings.
He was given another chance in the ninth the inning on Thursday night and struggled. While he only allowed a run, Diaz threw 35 pitches and registered one out. He completely lost command of his slider and ended with a hit by a pitch to Jose Peraza with the bases loaded. He also hit Peraza with a pitch on his finger earlier in the bat. But he was credited with a strike after Pereza swung.
The biggest issue has been his lack of command. John Smoltz mentioned on the broadcast how Edwin Diaz has had a difficult time repeating his delivery with his hands so far down with his long arms and has become just a thrower.
Even with his electric velocity on his fastball that at times reaches 100 mph, it is the only pitch he can throw for a strike. He also has unable to been able to put hitters away with his fastball.
In his outing on Thursday, he had two strikes on three of the four batters he allowed to reach. Diaz was 2-2 to Alex Verdugo before he fouled foul off three pitches before Diaz eventually walked him.
Against Michael Chavis, he was up 0-2 and then ran it to a full count, as Chavis fouled off two more pitches before his single to right field.
The at-bat to Peraza was the most noticeable as even after he was hit on the finger and was in discomfort, Peraza still managed to get a piece of four more pitches before Diaz put him on base.
The Mets are going to be forced to have to use in him complete non-leverage situations. They can ill-afford to have him come out of the bullpen in close games until his mechanics get fixed.
For the time being, New York will have to let Lugo close the games he is available in. If that means he has to come into the game in the eighth rather than the seventh, manager Luis Rojas will need to adjust and had this to say following the game.
“We need to talk, we need to work. That’s something that we’re going to do as a staff, me as the manager, and we’ll talk with the player…tonight was definitely different”
Dellin Betances has not allowed a run, and both Jeurys Familia and Justin Wilson have experience as closers. They have also seen Drew Smith pitch well after coming back from Tommy John surgery and could be a candidate to get some higher leverage situations.
However, Smith threw one and two-thirds innings on Thursday and Familia has pitched in three of the last four games. Both pitchers may not be available for the series opener Friday night against the Braves.
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