Mets reliever Edwin Diaz looks like his old dominant self again
In the month of August, New York Mets reliever Edwin Diaz appears to have returned to form as the dominant pitcher the team originally traded for.
Prior to the 2019 season, one of the biggest stories in baseball was the blockbuster trade between the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners which saw All-Star closer Edwin Diaz sent to Queens. In the 2018 season with Seattle, Diaz logged a 1.96 ERA and recorded 57 saves, tied for the second-most in a season in MLB history.
That same year, the Mets had a very inconsistent bullpen with one of the highest combined ERAs in the league, so this trade was initially viewed as a massive upgrade.
However, after starting the season strong, Diaz began to unravel, finishing the season with a 5.59 ERA in 66 appearances, allowing 15 home runs, and despite successfully closing out 26 games, he blew an additional 7 saves. Eventually, he was replaced by Seth Lugo as the team’s closer for the final months of the season.
Going into 2020, Diaz stated he believed that had found and corrected the mechanical error that he believed lead to his struggles the prior season, stating that he had an issue with locating his slider.
Things looked shaky in his first few appearances of 2020, leading fans to worry his struggles may not be behind him. While he pitched a scoreless 9th inning Opening Day, his next two outings were less successful.
Diaz allowed an earned run off a home run over an inning against the Braves the following day, and against the Red Sox in the next series, he allowed 1 run off of 2 walks and a hit over 0.1 innings. Over his 3 appearances in July, Diaz finished with a 7.71 ERA, and with a shortened season, fans began to worry if he could be trusted going forward.
However, through the month of August, Diaz has very closely resembled the pitcher the Mets believed they originally traded for. Diaz has pitched a total of 6 innings without allowing a run while striking out 12 batters. His resurgence has lowered his season ERA down to an impressive 2.16.
While granted, this is a small sample size, over this stretch, Diaz has been New York’s most dominate pitcher out of the bullpen, and appears to have finally corrected whatever mechanical issues he suffered in 2019.
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With the shortened season, every win counts and the Mets cannot afford to blow their leads late in games due to an inconsistent bullpen. If Diaz really is back to form, then he’s one of the most dominant relievers in the game, and could very soon, be given back his role as closer to the club.