Mets manager Luis Rojas not ready to name a closer, but Edwin Diaz is preparing as such

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

Despite New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas not naming as the official closer who will take every save opportunity available for the team, Edwin Diaz is going ahead with his spring preparations as if he is going to take the ball every time his team has a close lead.

And, to be fair, when all is said and done, that may be the case. Diaz is just too dominant not to be used as the everyday closer. In a team with Trevor May, Aaron Loup, Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, and other talented arms, he is hands down the best reliever.

“Every offseason, I prepare myself to be the closer of the team,” Díaz said through an interpreter, according to Mets’ beat writer for Anthony DiComo. “I think last season was really important for me. I had a tremendous season last year. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, but I know my mindset and my preparation is to be the closer of this team.”

And what a season he had in 2020. The Mets’ righty had a 1.75 ERA, a 2.18 FIP, and a 2.29 xFIP in 25.2 frames, with an otherworldly 17.53 K/9. That’s almost 18 punchouts for every nine innings pitched, which is insane.

His 2020 was far better than his 2019, in which he was heavily criticized for blowing saver after save and finishing with an ugly 5.59 ERA.

Mets’ Diaz adjusted and it paid off

Díaz said to the league’s official page that his adjustments were subtle, as he returned to the mechanics that helped him put late movement on his pitches between 2016 and 2018.

“Considering that I had such a good season, it’s really about staying in the same routine, the same rhythm,” Díaz said. “Obviously, it was only 60 games, but those 60 games were competitive. It was a competitive season. And those games are competitive every single day. So I think it’s about staying in the same rhythm and the same consistency to be able to have the same type of year 2021.”

The Mets’ skipper has several weapons he can use in the ninth inning, and he has talked about the possibility of using a lefty if the order is lefty-heavy.

“There are just so many scenarios in a game,” Rojas said while he clarified he prefers having the flexibility to use Díaz in earlier innings if the situation is “higher leverage.”

“Diaz had a tremendous year — one of the best years for a reliever in the season, I thought,” Rojas continued. “There’s a lot of guys here that can pitch at the end of games. For me, Sugar … may be the guy that gets the most chances. We have high trust in him. The stuff is tremendous, electric. You see his numbers.”

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Edwin Diaz

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

After Edwin Diaz‘s disappointing first season with the New York Mets, he came out with something to prove in 2020. Despite pitching without fans in attendance, Diaz had to prove he could live up to the out of world expectations he came into 2019 with. Diaz was every bit as good as advertised once he got settled in during the shortened season.

After Diaz secured his first save of the season, he followed it up with a blown save the following day. It immediately caused panic, and it grew when he looked even worse in his third game of the season. Diaz only recorded one out and looked completely lost with his control. It looked like the same Diaz from 2019 was alive and well.

Flip The Calendar

Whether Jeremy Hefner was the fixer is still a question, but once August rolled around, Diaz found himself. In 23 outings for the rest of the season, Diaz was scored upon in only three of them. The home run killed Diaz in 2019, and he only gave up two in the entire 2020 campaign.

Diaz regained his closer role and was just as electric as he was back in 2018. This version of Diaz was more mature, confident, and learned how to stop an outing from becoming catastrophic. In September, Diaz allowed one run in 11.2 innings, struck out 20, and held batters to just a .128 batting average.

What’s The Difference?

The biggest difference between 2019 and 2020 was the pitch location from Diaz. Despite having wipeout stuff, when Diaz would leave it up in the zone, it made it easy for hitters to tee off. A perfect example was the Marcell Ozuna home run from the second game of the season. Diaz threw a fastball off the outside corner, but it made it easier for Ozuna to drive it over the right-field fence since it was belt high.

Diaz got back to pinpointing his slider on the low, outside corner to righties and throwing it out of the zone when needed. His slider’s revival led it to have a 57% whiff rate and dramatically lower the slugging percentage against it from .622 to .167. Diaz had the best K rate (45.9%) in the game and the lowest average exit velocity in his career.

Overall, Diaz better than the entire Mets bullpen combined. He left almost 90% of runners on base, had a 2.18 FIP, and had a home run rate on par with his 2018 season. Diaz had a 1.75 ERA, six saves and an outstanding 50 strikeouts in just 25.2 innings pitched. The Mets have Diaz for two more years, and it will be exciting to see him produce in a full 162 game season.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

4-Seam Fastball: 70 (70), Thrown 61% of the time, and once Diaz learned how to harness its horizontal movement, it returned to greatness.

Slider: 80 (80), Higher whiff% than in his 2018 season.

Sinker: 50 (N/A), Only threw five of them, but they looked like 4-Seamers with extra break.

Cutter: 20 (N/A), It was a spiked slider; baseball savant tracks things weird.

Changeup: 30 (35), Diaz threw it to Freddie Freeman in the first game of the season. I actually liked the pitch, but Diaz avoided using it for the rest of the season. I hope he brings it back in 2021.

Overall: 75 (75), The sky is the limit for Diaz. As always, he will play a major role in the potential World Series success of the 2021 Mets.

New York Mets: The Peterson/Chirinos Battery Lead Mets To 3-2 Win

New York Mets, David Peterson

Who would have thought the combination of David Peterson and Robinson Chirinos would team up with the 2020 season started? Both guys took different paths to the New York Mets roster but made the difference in their 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. The win kept their small playoff hopes still alive as they sit 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the final playoff spot.

While Peterson did not strike out batters at the same rate as his last start, he was still very effective. In his final start of the season, he held the Nationals to one run over seven innings and struck out four. Peterson used his slider to put away the Nats hitters and make the longest start of his career. He will finish the season with a very impressive 3.44 ERA, very deserving of a spot in next year’s rotation.

Rob and Dom Show

While the Mets only pushed across three runs on the night but they made them count. Chirinos drove in all three with a hustle single and a two-run home run. All of his RBI came off Patrick Corbin, and the home run was his first of the season.

Dominic Smith continued his hot hitting with three more hits, including two more double to up his season total to 21. It broke the Mets record for the most doubles through a 60 game stretch, and he still has three more games to add to that total. Robinson Cano also added two hits, including his first bunt single since 2013.

Edwin Diaz picked up his sixth save of the season after allowing one run in the ninth inning. He bent but did not break as he worked around two hits in the ninth to shut the door.

Rick Porcello faces off against former teammate Max Scherzer for the second game of the series on Friday. It is another 6:05 p.m. ET start from Nationals Park.

New York Mets: Four Run Ninth Inning Catapults 10-6 Win

The final game of the series for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies was all about surviving and advancing to the next game. Their starting pitcher did not make it out of the second inning, seven combined runs were scored in the first inning, and two pitchers had to throw on their third consecutive day. Despite all of it, the Mets lived to steal a 10-6 victory from the Phillies.

The Mets immediately got a lead for Seth Lugo in the first inning. Dominic Smith‘s RBI double followed by Robinson Cano‘s two-run single gave the Mets an early 3-0 lead. After Lugo struck out the first batter he faced, it was clear he had nothing on the mound.

He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to give back the lead as quickly as the Mets got it. After allowing a Jean Segura triple, Adam Haseley drove him in to give the Phillies a 4-3 first-inning lead. Lugo allowed another two runs in the second inning and had to be replaced with Erasmo Ramirez.

Uphill Battle

The Mets bullpen gave them everything they needed and more for the second straight night. Ramirez started with 2.1 shutout innings, Chasen Shreve followed with another 2.1 scoreless innings. During that period, a Pete Alonso solo homer and Brandon Nimmo‘s two-run triple got the Mets even with the Phillies in the sixth.

After Jeurys Familia got through the seventh, he ran into trouble in the eighth. Justin Wilson came in for a third straight game an showed the ill-effects of all the work. Wilson could not locate anything and walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. Luckily he found the strike zone on one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to pop out and survive the eighth.

The Mets offense came alive in the ninth inning. Nimmo led off the ninth with a home run, Smith had an RBI triple, and Cano capped it off with a two-run home run. Things did not come easy for Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the ninth. He was also in for the third straight day but worked around three walks, getting the Mets a big win.

On Friday, the Mets begin a three-game weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Steven Matz makes his return to the rotation and faces Cy Young candidate Max Fried. The first pitch from Citi Field is at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets’ Edwin Diaz is showing his dominant side

Simeon Woods-Richardson

If we focus on saves and blown opportunities, then New York Mets’ closer Edwin Diaz has had a mediocre season, with four of the former and four of the latter. However, that’s not how we conduct analysis anymore. Instead, we focus on things that could be more indicative of a pitcher’s skill: ERA, FIP, K%, K/9, BB%, BB/9 and so on.

And judging by most of those stats, Diaz has not only been good, nor great: he has been magnificent in 2020. New York Mets’ fans have memories of him blowing seven saves last year with an ERA over five (5.59), but the truth is that this year, except for a little bit of an issue with walks, we have seen the best stuff from Diaz.

For the season, the Mets’ reliever has a 1.71 ERA and a 1.86 FIP in 21 games and 21.0 frames. He has an absurd 19.29 K/9. Remember how rare it is for a hurler to strike out 20 batters in a game, so much that only Kerry Wood, Roger Clemens and Max Scherzer have done it? Well, that’s Diaz’s average per each nine innings.

It is equally impressive if we look at it this way: Diaz has struck out more than half of the hitters he has faced in 2020 (45 in 21 innings, for a 50.6%.) Yes, he has been somewhat wild (the 4.71 BB/9 mark he is currently boasting is the highest of his career) but has been especially dominant of late, with no runs allowed in his last eight innings.

The Mets really need him to keep it up

The Mets’ righty hadn’t pitched since Sept. 9 because of a pair of off-days and the team three-game losing streak. But the time off didn’t alter his rhythm.

“I was able to throw bullpens essentially how I would in game situations,” Díaz said to Anthony DiComo of “I had one of the bullpen catchers actually stand in like he was a hitter, and I was able to simulate that way — throw to him and make it feel like it was a real game. I was able to stay sharp that way.”

“This year, my stuff has been really good,” Díaz said. “My numbers have been good. The save numbers are low and I do have four blown saves, but at the same time, that happens; that’s part of the game. You’re not going to be able to save every game.”

New York Mets’ manager Luis Rojas couldn’t be happier. “It’s unbelievable; he’s throwing the ball great right now,” he said. “Fastball and slider are in a good spot, he’s getting a lot of swing and misses and strikeouts. This is the Edwin Díaz that we all know.”

New York Mets: deGrom Exits Early, Gimenez Gets Big Hit in 5-4 Win

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Wednesday night’s matchup between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies featured a matchup of two longtime teammates. Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler faced each other for the first time, but Wheeler lasted a lot longer than back-to-back Cy Young winner did. For the Mets, if they wanted any hope at a postseason birth, they needed a victory.

From the beginning, it set up like another disappointing Mets loss. They went down 4-0 early, deGrom only lasted two innings, and their offense struggled against Wheeler. The Mets overcame all of that to pick up a huge 5-4 victory to move within 1.5 games of the Phillies. 

From the second pitch of the game, it was evident deGrom was dealing with some issue. deGrom sent glares towards the dugout, trying to let them know something was not right. After giving up three runs in the second, he did not make it back out for the third. deGrom left the game with right hamstring spasms and was visibly frustrated in the dugout.

Wacha to the Rescue

Michael Wacha gave the Mets everything they could have asked for when called into long relief duty. He gave the Mets four innings and held the Phillies to one run and kept the Mets in the game. Wacha worked around some trouble, allowing five hits, but his performance cannot go overlooked.

The comeback started with a simple Robinson Cano ground out, making it a 4-1 game. J.D. Davis made it a 4-3 game with a two-run opposite-field off Wheeler. As the game move into the late innings, Davis left his mark on this game.

With Michael Conforto on first base, his double tied the game in the eighth inning. The ball hung in the air forever, and it just made it over the glove of the leaping Adam Haseley. Conforto also had no clue on the number of outs, which made the play at the plate closer than it should have been.

Clutch Bullpen

In the bottom half of the eighth, Miguel Castro stranded runners on first and second with back to back strikeouts to move the game to the ninth inning. The Phillies made a couple of mistakes in the ninth inning to benefit the Mets. With a runner on first, Hector Neris balked to move the runner to second base.

They decided to intentionally walk Jeff McNeil to set up Andres Gimenez in his biggest spot with the Mets. The rookie came through to line a single to center field, giving the Mets a 5-4 lead. Edwin Diaz worked around a base hit to strike out three batters and pick up his biggest save of the season.

The Mets send Seth Lugo to the mound for the rubber game of this three-game series. Aaron Nola opposes him at Citizens Bank Park for the 7:05 p.m. ET start.


New York Mets: Disappointing as Ever in 4-1 Loss to Phillies

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

The New York Mets needed to take game one of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Much like they have all season, they disappointed and forgot to show up in their 4-1 loss. They beat themselves in every way a team possibly, adding more pain to their season.

It was precisely the type of game we have come to expect from the lackluster Mets. They stunk with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-6 in those situations and leaving 12 on base. As usual, team disappointments, Wilson Ramos and Pete Alonso each left five on base on their own.

The poor play translated to their baserunning and fielding as well. With manager Luis Rojas at the helm and working with plenty of these players in the minors, it is tough to see a team he manages play poorly. After another infuriating loss, it is all but confirmed that the Mets will not make the playoffs this season.

The lone Mets run came from a Brandon Nimmo solo-home run. Everything else for the Mets offense was ugly as can be. Another ugly detail from the game was how much of a better manager Joe Girardi is compared to Luis Rojas. Thankfully the incompetent fools who opted against Girardi are selling the team to Steve Cohen.

Porcello Struggles Again

Rick Porcello was signed as the Mets number five starter and unfortunately had higher expectations with a poor Mets rotation. He allowed four runs over six innings pitched, keeping his ERA above six. Porcello was the worst starting pitcher in baseball during 2019, so his 2020 performance should be no surprise.

A bright spot comes in Edwin Diaz‘s performance, where he struck out the side in the ninth inning. His ERA dropped to 1.80, but the Mets never give themselves a lead where they can use him to win. The loss to the Phillies was their sixth in eight games.

On Wednesday, the Mets send Jacob deGrom to the mound against the Phillies. The focus moves on to the Cy Young race as the first pitch is another 7:05 p.m. ET start from Citizens Bank Park.


New York Mets: Alonso Delivers Walk-Off Homer in 9-7 Win

The New York Mets needed their offense to outproduce their pitching struggles once again. Before the game, the Mets had a tribute for the passing of Tom Seaver, and all players rubbed dirt on their right knees in his honor. Despite the tribute, Robert Gsellman performed anything but Seaver-esk.

They had to come back from a 7-4 deficit, starting in the eighth inning, to score five unanswered runs to win. It was all capped off with a Pete Alonso two-run walk-off home run that dropped through the building raindrops at Citi Field.

The Mets would not have gotten to that spot without J.D. Davis revenge home run off Aroldis Chapman. He drilled Davis in the left hip during last weekend’s Subway Series matchup, and Davis continued the trend of revenge home runs against the Yankees.

The Mets offense was top notch for the second straight game. Amed Rosario and Todd Frazier both delivered three hits. All three of Frazier’s hits were for extra bases, including a home run, and Rosario drove in three runs.

Gsellman Struggles Once Again

The Mets gifted Robert Gsellman another start as the Mets continue their search for quality starters. He failed to get out of the second inning, allowing four runs before being yanked early. Chasen Shreve (2.1 IP) and Jeurys Familia (2 IP) saved the day. They combined for 4.1 innings of hitless baseball.

Edwin Diaz also had a dominant two innings out of the bullpen with four strikeouts. He continued his rampant strikeout rate and picked up the win, lowering his ERA to 2.25.

On Friday, the Mets begin a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Rick Porcello makes the start against Jake Arrieta in a 7:10 p.m. start from Citi Field.

New York Mets manager Luis Rojas gives Edwin Diaz another vote of confidence: “We still trust him”

On Sunday afternoon, the first game of the New York Mets‘ game against the Yankees, the bullpen once again collapsed. The Luis Rojas-led squad got to the seventh and final inning leading by five runs, but a few moments later, they had surrendered that lead in what ended up being an 8-7 loss.

Edwin Diaz, once again, was in the spotlight, but not in a good way. He blew his third save of the season and tenth in his Mets’ tenure. Rojas brought Diaz in with two men on base and the tying run at the plate. Unfortunately, Aaron Hicks belted a two-run homer that evened the score.

One inning later, the Mets had lost the game on a Gio Urshela walk-off single in the eighth inning. Since coming over from Seattle, where he was one of the game’s most dominant closers, Diaz has a 5.80 ERA.

The Mets need him to perform

Nevertheless, Rojas says he still wants Diaz to be a key cog in the bullpen in the future. After all, the New York Mets invested considerable resources to bring him to New York, namely prospects Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn.

“We still trust him,” Luis Rojas said. “We still love his stuff. And that’s when he’s going to get the ball, when there’s tight situations, when there’s tense situations like that.”

Diaz explained on Sunday that his feel for his slider just wasn’t there, despite the fact, according to’s Anthony DiComo, that he consistently threw it for strikes. Diaz, then, had to rely on his fastball, which was the pitch that Hicks connected over the fence.

“He only threw a few good sliders,” Rojas said of Diaz. “That was kind of the story of his outing today. When he has those two pitches working for him, that’s when it’s really tough to get a barrel on him.”

Mets starter Rick Porcello had allowed just a couple of runs in five innings of work. “It’s a tough one, that’s for sure,” he said. “You never like to lose. Especially when you’re winning a ballgame and end up giving it up late, it hurts. But this is something that you play baseball long enough, you deal with on more than one occasion and you know how to respond.”

New York Mets: Sunday’s Doubleheader Disappointment to the Yankees

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

After a terrific start to their five-game series against the New York Yankees, the New York Mets continuously beat themselves towards the end of the series. The bullpen disappointed the Mets in both games of the doubleheader, setting their season back even more.

The Mets were in a perfect position to turn things around from Saturday’s loss with a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Jared Hughes and Edwin Diaz combined to allow five runs in the inning, including an Aaron Hicks line-drive home run to tie the game. Diaz pitched in the eight, allowing Gio Urshela to hit a game-winning RBI single.

Adding On the Pain in Game 2

Deivi Garcia shut down the Mets in his major league debut. He threw six innings and struck out six while only allowing one unearned run. Seth Lugo went 3.2 innings for the Mets, striking out seven and only allowing one run. The bullpen disappointed again as Drew Smith allowed four runs in extra innings to give the Yankees a good cushion for the bottom of the inning.

The Mets added on a run, but Wilson Ramos struck out with the bases loaded in another frustrating loss. Over the three-game losing streak, every flaw Brodie Van Wagenen created and failed to fill was exploited. To make matters worse, the poor managing of rookie manager Luis Rojas was fully exposed as well.

On Monday, the Mets head back to their home park for a makeup game with the Miami Marlins. Jacob deGrom takes the mound for the 1:10 p.m. ET start against Trevor Rogers.