Four mound meltdowns have shaped how the perception of New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz. Fair or not, he’s having a bad year because of it.
Up against the best team in the National League, Diaz wasted little time in turning an easy victory into his first disastrous appearance with the Mets. Joc Pederson led off with a home run followed by the same result off the bat of Max Muncy. A double from Justin Turner one batter later set up Cody Bellinger for a double of his own.
Four batters into the inning, the game was tied and Diaz had blown the game.
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An intentional walk followed by a single loaded the bases with nobody out. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo hit one deep enough to score Bellinger, ending the game. The Mets added a tally to the loss column in what many viewed as Diaz’s worst big league outing.
In the games since, Diaz grew shakier with his save opportunities. There were not many in June. However, he did manage to get beat up by the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle of the month and the Philadelphia Phillies in another epic collapse later on.
Most recently, it’s the July 5th game against the Phillies where Diaz once again let the opponents blow up his ERA. In a non-save situation at home, Diaz entered the game against Philadelphia in a 2-2 tie. Instead of getting the job done, Diaz surrendered 4 earned runs while only retiring a single batter. He exited the game but not before allowing another Jacob deGrom go to waste.
These four games have all defined Diaz’s year. With relief pitchers, it’s sometimes tough to simply look at an ERA and say it’s a bad year. For Diaz, the problem has not been the number of times he is blowing games. It’s the quality of them.
Diaz hasn’t just allowed the opponent to tie the game. His blown saves are complete breakdowns. Blown saves will happen and it’s a part of baseball we accept. Unacceptable is how poorly he has bounced back from these cataclysmic meltdowns.
Through 33.1 innings, Diaz now has an ERA of 5.67. He is 1-6 on the year with four blown saves. Only once has he blown a save which resulted in a Mets win. This was his game against the Detroit Tigers when he allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth inning. A Tomas Nido home run in extra innings eventually ended things.
This game occurred back on May 25th when we were feeling good about the Mets. It was the first blown game of Diaz’s time in New York. Little did we know it was the first of many to come in a stretch for this organization we all wish had a reset button attached to it.
It’s unfair to judge a reliever on four games. The poor quality of those games and how inescapable they have felt is why Diaz is in the position he is now—job in jeopardy.
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Can we still call Diaz a good pitcher? I think so. But when the going gets tough, it doesn’t seem like he’s built to get out of his own mess.