Edwin Diaz Not Quite Elite
The most promising sign we have seen from Edwin Diaz this year was how he reacted to the no-hitter. He knew what was happening, and what he needed to do. That would be the best we’ve ever seen of him.
Really, this year is the best we’ve seen of him. He’s having his first All-Star caliber season with the New York Mets, and there is a real and justified discussion about the need to extend him.
Diaz has been very, very good this year. However, as we saw in San Francisco, he’s just not quite elite. Not yet.
The Mets were down 8-4 entering the top of the eighth when they exploded for seven runs. They took an 11-8 lead.
The Mets offense picked the team off the mat again. After knocking in the first run of that eighth inning rally, Dominic Smith came up huge again leading off the top of the ninth with a triple. Travis Jankowski pinch ran, and he’d score on a Brandon Nimmo sacrifice fly.
The Mets had a 12-11 lead, and they brought Diaz into the game.
Obviously, you need your closer to lock down every game he pitches. That said, these are the games you REALLY need. The Mets fought to get back into the game, and then, they fought back again.
After a double play, all Diaz needed was one more out. He didn’t get it, and the trouble started with a walk to Mike Yastrzemski.
You’ll note this damage mostly cane from left-handed batters. There’s something there with Diaz.
Yes, by and large, he’s platoon neutral. That said, he’s always walked left-handed batters at a higher clip than right-handed batters. Those walks lead to trouble, and they did here.
This marked the third blown save in 13 chances for Diaz. Those three saves are the second most in all of baseball this season. We can pretend otherwise, but even when Diaz is at his best, blown saves have been an issue for him.
It’s not just the blown saves but the moments. While there were a number of mitigating factors, you can certainly recall how he wilted in his one and only pennant race in 2019.
Overall, you’re better with Diaz than not. We’ve seen him able to rise to the occasion. You can win games and potentially World Series with him.
However, he’s just not elite. He’s not there quite yet. Elite closers lock down that game. He didn’t. We don’t need to over dwell on it because he will be fine in the long run. That still doesn’t mean we have to pretend he’s something he isn’t.