When the sound of trumpets fills the air at Citi Field, it’s a sign that the cavalry, in the person of reliever Edwin Diaz, is on the way to save the day and the game.
Diaz jogs in from the bullpen in the ninth inning, almost always in save situations, to the music of “Narco,’’ by Blasterjaxx.- And as if that soundtrack weren’t sufficient, it is accompanied by Timmy Trumpet’s horn. The combination is electric for the crowd, which welcomes Diaz’s arrival with raucous cheers these days.
And why not? The Mets closer reached the middle of August with 27 saves and a 1.33 earned run average in 47 games. He had 94 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings pitched. That’s two strikeouts per inning and since Diaz usually throws just one inning … well, you do the math. It’s two strikeouts per inning.
Sound that trumpet!
This has been a dramatic turnaround in New York for the slender right-hander. He arrived in 2019 in a trade with Seattle after a magical season with the Mariners, in which he posted 57 saves and a 1.96 earned run average. The Mets wanted him so badly, they agreed to accept aging Robinson Cano and his bloated contract as part of the trade.
The deal was a dud. Diaz was overwhelmed and struggled badly. He lost seven games, gave up 15 home runs and posted a dreadful 5.59 ERA. The New York fans, known for their impatience for failure, booed him without mercy.
Things improved somewhat in the shortened 2020 season and by 2021, Diaz was beginning to resemble a useful reliever. He has been much more than that, bordering on the unhittable this season.
Lights out relievers have special entry tunes. Mariano River had “Enter Sandman’’ and Trevor Hoffman arrived to “Hell’s Bells.’’ They’re in the Hall of Fame. Diaz celebrated his own tune this season and hit a personal milestone when he posted his 200th career save. It came in the midst of a scoreless streak of 20 innings that included the first six-out save of his career.
Diaz had used “Narco’’ in his time at Seattle but decided to drop it when he came to the Mets. Resurrected, it has become legendary this season.
The Mets know a good thing when they hear it. They are bringing Timmy Trumpet to Citi Field for an in-person rendition on Aug. 28. Will Diaz come jogging out of the bullpen when Timmy starts playing his trumpet?
If it’s a save situation, most certainly.