Mancuso: The Risk Is Edwin Diaz


 You can’t win them all and the Mets season high eight eight-game winning streak was snapped at Citi Field Sunday afternoon. A throwing error caused by Pete Alonso and a two run double from former Met Asdrubal Cabrera off Justin Wilson are some of the reasons a streak was stopped that put a damper on the playoff atmosphere at Citi Field.

And there is Edwin Diaz. He comes out of the bullpen in the ninth inning. The 41,000 fans standing could have expected another letdown from Edwin Diaz. A walk and followed by a Victor Robles two-run homer.

The Mets had no success against Sean Doolittle, no miracle comeback to cap off a successful weekend at Citi Field. No sweep of the Washington Nationals and a setback again for Edwin Diaz who saw his ERA swell to 5.60

That ERA of 9.60 tells the story here in his last 25 appearances out of the bullpen. The slider can’t locate. Edwin Diaz continues to be lost on the mound and at this rate is a risk. There is every hope this will change for the better.

But, Edwin Diaz is lost. And if the Mets are to continue this comeback to play October baseball, right now the last option  is for manager Mickey Callaway to call on Edwin Diaz.

“I try to have a positive attitude every single time,” he said through an interpreter. “I’m just trying to get out of this rough stretch that I’m in right now.”

Thing is, it’s those dog days of August. There may be minimal time for Edwin Diaz to turn his season around. The Mets are viable and contending for a wild card and they need him to get this right but there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. 

He is lost and  a major cog of this bullpen could eventually cost the Mets their chance of making this turnaround a success.

A high ranking scout, when asked said Sunday evening “At this point, this is a confidence thing. He has no confidence out there. You can tell he is lost. It could be the New York pressure, you never know.”

Or it could be the mental approach, and at this point of the season the mental excuse is hard to understand. There has been enough time to get this right. The Mets can’t afford more of these setbacks though, this was not a blown save.

The home run ball, as it was, made it more difficult for the Mets to make that comeback.  You can’t expect the Mets to have a miracle in them every game. But they do need Edwin Diaz to get on the mound and keep it close or put out the fire.

That was the 11th home run allowed by Diaz this season in 44-⅔ innings.  The area of concern for the Mets is how much more patience they can have with Edwin Diaz? His ability to give up the home run ball is documented.  As the Mets head to Atlanta Tuesday, for another important three-game series, this becomes an issue and crucial time if they want this run to continue.

He is no longer the closer. That was established from the manager and in that round-about way. Mickey Calalway gets around the question and it is obvious, Seth Lugo is more effective in that role. 

“He’s going to continue to get big outs for us ,” Callaway said. “Continue to pitch in big games.” Lugo was not available Sunday afternoon.

And the Mets are trapped in those situations. do they insert Jeurys Famila back to the closer role? Lugo can’t be available every game. Familia seems to be back in form and worked a clean 8th inning and struck out the side. 

Gerardo Parra, Kurt Suzuki, Andrew Stevenson all went down with a slider or sinker. Swinging, looking and swinging. That is what the Mets thought they would get from Edwin Diaz after a record 57 saves last season in Seattle.

You can’t win them all but the Mets have not won them when Edwin Diaz comes trotting out of the pen.  And the bullpen, that turned it around, 7-3 with seven saves, a 3.20 ERA since the All-Star break, had been a major part of winning 15 of their last 16.

Of course that streak was prior to Edwin Diaz making it more difficult for the Mets to win a season-high nine games. That opportunity to sweep a series from the Nationals again was close.

But not in a closer role, Edwin Diaz widened the gap. On the scoreboard and getting close to the top or tie for a top wildcard has to wait another day because of this consistent failure 

This will be interesting as the Mets head to Atlanta. It’s another and major test for the Mets. The next three games with the division leading Braves before a series at the lowly Kansas City Royals.

However, the test for Edwin Diaz is difficult to redo. And more so for the Mets  in what is now a tough stretch and in contention for an unexpected wild card, Edwin Diaz is a risk.

Comment: [email protected]   Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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