So I want to get something straight with Edwin Diaz:
I truly don’t believe that Edwin Diaz is a case of “can’t pitch in New York”. I think that’s an easy explanation to fall back on. New York fans have been falling back on that for years so it’s in the closest holster. But I really don’t believe that’s the case. I think losing his slider for a while has hurt him, and it’s led to hitters sitting on the fastball. That might be why every hit off him has been in the seats. Also, relievers just aren’t sure things from year to year. Eight relievers in the history of baseball have had 3.0 WAR wins in back-to-back seasons. Eight. We asked Diaz to do that after switching teams and switching leagues. (Not hindsight.) This season could have very well happened in the quiet reaches of Seattle.
All that said: I would not have brought Diaz in tonight. I would not have brought him into the first game of a homestand after what happened on Tuesday night … not with the vultures circling his soon to be 2019 carcass. I understand that Handsome Art Howe said that Seth Lugo wasn’t available because he pitched one inning on the third, and two on the fourth. And I also get that maybe they believe that it wasn’t the most optimal position to have Lugo in, even after a day off. But the one inning he pitched on Tuesday he threw ten innings. Before that, he had three days off. If you bring in Seth Lugo tonight and he blows it, I can deal with it because he went down with his best. If after that, you have to bring Diaz in on Saturday and he blows it, I can live with it because at that point, you absolutely had to go to him. The Mets needed a win in front of the home crowd before going back to Diaz after Tuesday’s calamity.
But bringing him in on Friday was the wrong move. It’s September 6th. The Mets were five games back entering tonight. Why does Handsome Art Howe continue to manage for tomorrow when the todays are running out?
Sure enough after the Mets took a 4-2 lead in the eighth thanks to singles by Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos (and deft pinch running by Sam Haggerty), Diaz turned it into a 4-4 tie in the ninth after a base hit to Jean Segura and a home run to J.T. Realmuto on a hanging slider. On Tuesday Diaz was burned by throwing the fastball when his slider was deadly, and on Friday he was burned by throwing the slider when the fastball was poppling. Diaz can’t win at this point, but the people around him aren’t doing a great job putting him in a winning position. Yes, HAH is correct in that the Mets need Diaz to win, especially if we’re playing under The Lugo Rules. But Friday was the wrong spot for him … especially not with the lead only at two. A three run lead would have been a little better, despite Alex Rodriguez’s new math.
Thankfully for Diaz (and more so for Handsome Art), he gets a vulture win the Mets conjured up a two out rally in the bottom of the ninth which culminated in a bases loaded walk to Pete Alonso to win the game for the Mets. After taking what could have been the silver bullet to end the season, the Mets showed a ton of mental toughness to gut out a crazy victory in a game that could have been the final blow. They’ve shown that toughness all season, but mostly in the past week and it’s amazing because I feel as though better teams have folded like cheap suits. (Cough, cough, ’07, cough)
Today’s Hate List
Of course, Diaz should have had a three run lead in the ninth, because this play led directly to the first Phillies run:
Fieldin! What are you looking at???