Vintage Jeurys Familia bailed out injured Edwin Diaz: the Mets’ closer will undergo testing

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

Last night’s game was crazy from almost every point of view. It featured a New York Mets’ victory against the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-7, and it stayed that way because of an overturned call on a home run that would have tied the game, but the crew eventually ruled as a double after review.

With a four-run lead, the Mets decided to give the ball to their best reliever, who happens to be their closer, Edwin Diaz. It wasn’t a save situation, but manager Luis Rojas went with Diaz anyway.

The strategy did not work out for the Mets, given that Diaz conceded a base on balls and then allowed an RBI triple with one out.

After striking out Odubel Herrera for the second out, Diaz was about to get out of the jam. However, he walked another hitter and then reported back tightness to Mets’ pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, but opted to try and pitch through it.

That was costly, as it was when Rhys Hoskins hit the controversial double that was initially called a home run, thus tying the game. When the crew said it was a double, the game went from 8-8 to 8-7 instead, and Rojas decided it was enough for Diaz and brought Jeurys Familia.

“We were hoping that ball stayed in the yard,” outfielder Kevin Pillar said per the Mets’ official site.

The Mets ‘familiar’ closer

With two outs, former Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia struck out Bryce Harper no less, to end the ballgame.

“We trust our bullpen,” Pillar said. “We had the right guys step up and make some good pitches, and we got out of there with a win.”

Familia, who is among the Mets’ leaders in saves, has a 1.29 ERA and a 2.54 FIP in the early going, a crisp turnaround from what he showed last season and in 2019.

Rojas confirmed that Diaz will undergo testing on Monday. The hope is that the issue is minor and doesn’t require a stint in the injured list.

The victory, seen from that angle – potentially losing the closer for at least a couple of days – was costly. But it was a victory nonetheless.

“We’re a tough team,” Mets’ first baseman Pete Alonso said. “We’re a really tough team. Win or lose, we’re not going to make it easy. We’re relentless. And we finish games.”

Mets Escape Philadelphia By Inches In 8-7 Victory Over Phillies

What the hell just happened?

The New York Mets survived the final game of their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies thanks to the convenience of instant replay. Rhys Hoskins seemed to rip out the hearts over every Mets fan with a three-run game-tying home run off Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Thanks to the wonders of instant replay, Hoskins hit the tippy-top of the fence, which changed his home run to a double. Unfortunately, Diaz had to leave the game with an undisclosed injury. Jeurys Familia came in with ice in his veins to strike out Bryce Harper and allow the Mets to crawl away with a victory.

On the offensive side for the Mets, Jose Alvarado made a horrible mistake by waking up a sleeping giant on Friday. Donnie Stevenson was born and has led the Mets to two victories against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Before diving into Alvarado’s lack of control, who would have thought Kevin Pillar and Jonathan Villar would begin a Mets comeback? In the eighth, Pillar brought the Mets within a run with his home run against Brandon Kintzler. Villar found just enough space to record a single up the middle, then wreaked havoc on the bases.

Bullpen Issues on Both Sides

Kintzler spent plenty of time occupied with Villar’s speed over the next two batters. With Villar on the move, Jose Peraza lined a single, and it banged right off the first baseman Hoskins glove. If Hoskins snagged it, the Phillies get a double play to end the inning, but it kept the Mets alive. Once Hoskins picked up the ball to make matters worse, he lobbed it back to the infield, and aggressive baserunning from Villar caught the Phils napping to tie the game.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Mets handed a frozen platter to Alvarado. After allowing a first-pitch single, Alvarado walked Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto consecutively to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. Phillies manager Joe Girardi turned the ball over to David Hale, who provided little relief. Pete Alonso blew the door wide open with a bases-clearing double to cap off the rally and give the Mets an 8-4 lead.

David Peterson looked like he would leave his start early after the Phillies were hitting rockets off him. A masterful double play from McNeil and Lindor gave Peterson all the momentum he needed to allow him to survive. Peterson did more than survive by getting through five innings, holding the Phils to just one run, and recording eight strikeouts.

Why Diaz?

For both team’s bullpens, making it out alive was the name of the game. At first, it looked like Miguel Castro would become the only casualty. Castro allowed a three-run homer to Didi Gregorius in the sixth inning, giving Phillies a 4-2 lead. The bullpen was due to hit a bump in the road. Heading into the night, they had thrown 18 consecutive scoreless innings.

Manager Luis Rojas managed the game very well until he decided to use Diaz when he did not need to. Rojas easily could have turned to Familia, Sean Reid-Foley, or Robert Gsellman with Diaz as an insurance policy. It was evident from a four-pitch walk that Diaz would not be at his best and resulted in suffering an injury.

Somehow the Mets are 11-11 and back to a tie for first place in the NL East. They will head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals for a four-game series starting on Monday. Even though it was ugly, the Mets needed to get a couple of wins on the board and hope to carry their momentum on the rest of the road trip.

 

Mets Offense Chokes in Extra Innings During 4-3 Loss

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

The “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field were quite the opposite for the New York Mets as they dropped all three games to the Chicago Cubs. Unlike their 16-4 loss the previous night, the Mets a great chance to win this game. They had a runner on third with no outs and bases loaded with one out in the 10th but failed to take the lead. In the bottom half, the Cubs took advantage of their based loaded opportunity to win 4-3 and complete the sweep.

Jason Heyward played the hero with an RBI single, which showed the Mets how simple it is to drive in a run with the bases loaded. When the Mets had an opportunity to take the lead, Jeff McNeil struck out, and Dominic Smith grounded into a double play to foil any opportunity to win the game. The Mets went just 1-for-7 w/RISP, left eight runners on base, and are hitting .190 w/RISP.

Joey Lucchesi struggled again as he lasted just three innings and allowed the same amount of runs. Sean Reid-Foley was stellar in his Mets debut by throwing three perfect innings with four strikeouts. Reid-Foley set the tone for a Mets bullpen that was terrific all night. Trevor May followed with a scoreless seventh, then Aaron Loup and Miguel Castro combined to work around a leadoff triple in the eighth. Edwin Diaz sent the game to extra innings but allowed the bases-loaded single to take the loss.

Get The Offense Going

If you search synonyms for the word “bad,” you will find many words to describe the Mets offense. Pete Alonso did homer for the second straight game, but he was the only somewhat hot hitter in the lineup. J.D. Davis tied the game in the seventh with a pinch double after getting a night off from playing the field. Davis is 8-for-18 to begin the season and should return to the lineup on Friday because they desperately need his bat despite his struggling defense.

Despite the sweep and falling back to .500, the Mets are still tied for first place. While there is never a guarantee to win with Jacob deGrom on the mound, they will have the opportunity to take advantage of his greatness when he starts on Friday. Erick Fedde pitches for the Washington Nationals, who make their first trip to Citi Field for the 7:10 p.m. start.

McCann’s Perfect Strike Give Mets The 2-1 Victory Over The Rockies

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

Defensive improvement was the top priority during the New York Mets offseason, and James McCann showed why when he secured a series win against the Colorado Rockies. With two outs in the ninth, McCann foiled Trevor Story‘s stolen base attempt to give the Mets a big 2-1 victory in the mile-high city.

The Mets do not get to that point without the stellar outing from Marcus Stroman. He delivered eight terrific innings with just three hits and one run allowed on an efficient 90 pitches. Stroman made the highlight reel with his behind-the-back grab on a comebacker and five-hop throw to first base in the eighth. He now has a 0.90 ERA in three starts, which is good for the seventh-best in baseball.

Survive and Advance

The offense is still struggling to get anything going consistently, but great pitching allows the Mets to survive these games. Jeff McNeil drove in the first run with a second-inning ground out and J.D. Davis recorded the second with a fourth-inning single. Overall, the Mets are still struggling with runners in scoring position as they went 1-for-8. The Mets had an opportunity for an insurance run in the ninth, but McNeil’s failed attempt to stretch a double to a triple floundered their scoring chance.

Luckily, Edwin Diaz continued to dominate by picking up his second save in the same amount of games. His ERA is 3.18 and continues to drop after his rough outing early in the season. Brandon Nimmo also continued to stay hot by getting on base for the 11th consecutive game to start the season. He leads all of baseball with his .447 batting average and .543 on-base percentage.

The 7-4 Mets have themselves a one-game lead in the NL East after a chaotic first three weeks to the season. They have a day off on Monday as they head to Chicago to face the Cubs. If the weather obliges, they will begin a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

Montgomery, Diaz Struggle in New York Mets 10-2 Loss to the Marlins

The New York Mets had to decide Mike Montgomery‘s future, and his outing against the Miami Marlins did not help. Montgomery needed 60 pitches to get through 2.2 innings, where he allowed five runs on six hits. The fish wasted no time in the first inning when they opened up an early 4-0 and sent nine batters to the plate.

Montgomery had the upper hand over Jerry Blevins to become the second lefty in the bullpen. With Blevins’s scoreless outing on Saturday, he might have a new life to make the roster. The defense behind him did not provide much help, but the Mets have to decide their plan going forward, and Montgomery can opt-out if he disagrees with it.

The relievers that followed Montgomery did not provide and resistance for the Marlins hitters. Jeurys Familia and Miguel Castro both allowed runs in their one inning outings. Edwin Diaz struggled the most with four hits and three runs allowed but did strikeout three. Surprisingly, Dellin Betances was the one reliever who recorded a 1-2-3 inning.

The Mets’ offense was quiet against Marlins starter Daniel Castano. Brandon Nimmo provided the only run off Castano with his third-inning home run. It was only Nimmo’s second hit against a lefty this spring, and consistent hitting against southpaws can move him from a platoon option to an everyday player. Michael Conforto also hit Castano well with two hits, including a double. Wilfredo Tovar provided the second run with his home run in the ninth inning.

On Monday, the Mets play at 12:05 p.m. ET against the St. Louis Cardinals. Taijuan Walker (1-0, 3.00 ERA) faces off against veteran Adam Wainwright (0-0, 1.83 ERA) from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

New York Mets: Defense Struggles in the Ninth in 4-3 Loss to Nationals

The New York Mets and Washington Nationals were reluctant to play defense in Saturday night’s matchup. Both teams combined for five errors on the night, and it helped lead to a Nats 4-3 victory in walk-off fashion.

The Mets’ offense got started early thanks to two Nats’ first-inning errors. Juan Soto‘s error allowed Michael Conforto to advance to third and J.D. Davis to second on his single. Both came around to score on Carter Kieboom‘s throwing error, giving the Mets an early 2-0 lead. The bats went silent for the rest of the game as their third run came on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.

Pitching Strong As Ever

Mets pitchers were solid under the bright lights. Jordan Yamamoto allowed an RBI double to Josh Bell in the first inning but settled in after. Yamamoto pitched 3.1 innings, allowed one run, and retired eight in a row at one point. Jonathan Villar‘s error at third base caused the end of Yamamoto’s start. Through 8.1 innings this spring, Yamamoto has allowed one run and no home runs.

Edwin Diaz was electric and efficient in his one inning of work. He sandwiched a one-pitch out between two, three-pitch strikeouts. Diaz also reached triple digits with his fastball and has retired all nine batters this spring with five strikeouts. Miguel Castro and Drew Smith continued their strong months as each hurled a scoreless inning. Both pitchers are very undervalued parts of a deep bullpen.

Things got crazy when Ryley Gilliam entered in the ninth. Yadiel Hernandez singled to lead off and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jackson Cluff‘s bunt single moved Hernandez to third and put the Nats in business with no outs. A fielder’s choice allowed the Nats to tie the game, then an error by third baseman Mark Vientos but the winning run in scoring position.

Gilliam uncorked another wild pitch to move runners to second and third for Andrew Stevenson. After getting the second out, Yasmany Tomas singled past a diving Wilfredo Tovar to win it for the Nats. Gilliam has allowed three runs and five hits in his two outings this spring.

David Peterson (0-0, 0.00) takes the mound in Port St. Lucie as the St. Louis Cardinals return to town. Carlos Martinez (0-1, 11.57) throws for the Cards at 1:10 p.m. ET on SNY.

Five Run Seventh Inning Gives New York Mets 5-3 Win Over Cardinals

The New York Mets took a while to get their offense going, but a combination of youth and veterans powered their comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 5-3 victory, Taijuan Walker made his Mets debut in his trademark number 99 jersey.

The Mets were down 3-0 heading into the seventh, but a Brett Baty walk and Drew Ferguson single set them up with no one out. Kevin Pillar continued his good spring training with an RBI single to put the Mets on the board. Jose Peraza followed up with a fielder’s choice to drive in a run, and Pete Alonso walked to load the bases.

A wild pitch by Seth Elledge knotted the score at three, then Ronny Mauricio capped off the inning with a two-run single. Mauricio will likely start the year in the minors, but the top prospect has turned heads with a 5-for-11 spring with three RBIs.

Walker’s Debut

Taijuan Walker had an easy 1-2-3 first inning but ran into plenty of trouble in the second. A walk and two singles resulted in the first run for the Cards. Albert Almora‘s diving play saved the inning from blowing up as it only became a sacrifice fly. Walker got out of the inning after but allowed another walk and a couple of hard-hit balls. His velocity was good, sitting at 94, but he could not regain his control for the second inning.

Edwin Diaz followed Walker and has the best Mets outing of the spring. Diaz struck out Nolan Gorman and Yadier Molina with his high 90s fastball, then recorded a groundout from Austin Dean to finish off the outing. He looked in mid-season form with both his fastball and slider. Whether by accident or not, Diaz also showed the ability to change speeds on the slider. Miguel Castro was just as dominant with two strikeouts in an 11-pitch inning.

Trevor May struck out two but allowed a wind-guided home run to Justin Williams. Jeurys Familia walked on in one inning pitch but was far better than his past outings. Sam McWilliams made the ninth inning interesting with three consecutive walks but managed to escape without allowing any runs. The save was the McWilliams’ second of the spring.

The Mets take Wednesday off before heading back to West Palm Beach to face the Houston Astros. On Thursday, Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.00) and Zack Greinke (0-1, 9.00) hook up for the second time at 6:05 p.m. ET.

New York Mets: deGrom Dominant in Rain-Shortened 6-1 Win

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets only played six innings on Saturday, but there were plenty of positives in their 6-1 over the Houston Astros. Jacob deGrom and Edwin Diaz made their spring debuts while Pete Alonso remained hot at the plate.

Before the game, deGrom was unsurprisingly named the Opening Day starter for the third consecutive season by Manager Luis Rojas. The only surprise from deGrom’s start was the two hitters who found their way on base. deGrom struck out three batters over two innings and needed just 29 pitches to get through his outing. As usual, he lit up the radar gun with a couple of 99 mph fastballs.

Diaz was even better in his one inning of relief. He needed seven pitches to record one strikeout and had help from Francisco Lindor behind him. Miguel Castro worked around a walk in one scoreless inning after Diaz left the game.

Coming Out Swinging

It was an all-around effort for the Mets offense that featured a different look without Brandon Nimmo. Jeff McNeil took over as the leadoff man, with Lindor batting second. Another line drive to the opposite field from Alonso resulted in an RBI double to get the Mets started in the first. Michael Conforto showed off his underrated speed by scoring all the way from first on the play.

Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar both received starts and made the most of their chances. Both recorded RBI singles as the eighth and ninth place hitters. Dominic Smith recorded his first home run of the spring with a majestic shot to right field.

The young blood of Ronny Mauricio and Pete Crow-Armstrong took over in the sixth. Crow-Armstrong led off the inning with a triple, his first hit in professional baseball. Mauricio drove him in with a single, giving Mets fans a sneak peek of a potential combination in the future.

The Mets are back on SNY on Sunday when they face the Miami Marlins. Marcus Stroman (1-0, 0.00) makes his second start of the season against Pablo Lopez (0-0, 0.00). The first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. from Clover Park.

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 MLB.com 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.