The New York Mets have to get Edwin Diaz right if they have any hope of making something happen down the stretch, but they aren’t exactly doing a good job of fixing their broken closer. Diaz was asked to handle an impossible situation last night, entering down a run with the bases loaded and no one out in the eighth inning. Things turned out poorly as expected, with Diaz giving up two runs (including a walk to force in one of them) and nearly giving up four more when a potential grand slam when just foul.
Mickey Callaway offered praise for Diaz, saying he did a very good job of getting out of that situation allowing just two runs, but that probably did little to bolster Diaz’s confidence. The Mets were between a rock and a hard place because it turned out that Luis Avilan and Robert Gsellman were unavailable, and Callaway didn’t want to go to Seth Lugo with the Mets trailing. That left only Diaz, Jeurys Familia, and recently recalled Paul Sewald available to get out of the jam that Brad Brach created.
Getting Diaz righted should mean putting him into some lower leverage situations, allowing him to pitch clean innings and start to gain some confidence in his slider again. The perfect opportunity to do that would have been on Thursday night, with the Mets holding a six run lead in the ninth inning. Drew Gagnon started that inning instead, giving up four runs and forcing Diaz to come into a pressure packed spot to try and record a save.
Numerous media types, including former Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi, have indicated that they believe Diaz’s problems are mental as opposed to physical. The stuff is still there, as evidenced on the occasions that Diaz is able to command his slider, and his fastball is still nasty. Putting Diaz into a no-win scenario last night did little to help his psyche, and going to a guy like Familia may have been the wiser route. Familia at least has shown signs his sinker is working again, so he may have been able to generate a double play ball to limit the damage to just a run. The Mets were losing last night anyway with how poorly their offense performed, but doing further mental damage to Diaz was not necessary.