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Fixing Edwin Diaz Fast

Mets closer Edwin Diaz has had a rough three weeks. The tide turned on April 29 on the home run to the Cubs Christopher Morel.  The score was tied when Diaz entered that game, so it did not count as a blown save, but it did end up being a loss for Diaz and the Mets. 

Diaz pitched a scoreless 2 innings on May 2 again vs. the Cubs striking out two giving up no hits or walks. It seemed that the April 29 game was an anomaly. Instead, it was a harbinger. Three days later May 5 Diaz coughed up a 9th inning run (a long home run from Randy Arozerena) with the Mets subsequently losing that game. He followed that up the next night getting his 5th save vs. the Cardinals. Diaz waited another 6 days to pitch and on May 12th he pitched a solid 9th inning in a game the Mets won vs. the Braves on a run in the bottom of the 9th inning making him the winning pitcher.

His next and most recent three outings have been nothing short of disastrous. Two consecutive blown saves vs. the Phillies (for extra pain), and then and even worse four-run cough-up in the 9th inning vs. the Marlins on Saturday that somehow was neither a blown save nor a loss for Diaz. That’s because the Mets were ahead by four runs so no save could be blown, and he left before the Mets lost that game in extra innings.

Diaz says the problems are not physical or related to the knee injury that kept him off the field for the entire 2023 season. It seems to be a mechanical problem. In watching Diaz, you can discern that he lacks both confidence and control in all his pitches, including his fastball. Diaz’s fastball velocity is down per Tim Britton in The Athletic on Monday

Díaz’s fastball velocity is down 2.2 mph, and his slider velocity is down 1.8 mph from the 2022 season.

In 2022, almost 80 percent of Díaz’s fastballs were 98 or harder. This year, it’s less than 15 percent. His hardest fastball this year was slower than 173 that he threw in 2022.

Díaz’s fastball control has not been as strong as it was two seasons ago. He’s in the zone a bit less often, he’s inducing swings a bit less often, and he’s generating swings-and-misses on his fastball a lot less often (18.0 percent in 2022 compared to 14.7 percent this year).

Díaz’s struggles with both the velocity and control of his fastball have more consistently placed him behind in the count than in 2022.’

Diaz may not be injured but he’s far from being in sync which could explain both his drop in velocity as well as loss of command. Mets fans well remember Jeurys Familia and how when Familia was good, he was very good, when he wasn’t good, well you know the rest.

It is fixable. Whether Diaz needs to work it out on the Mets by pitching earlier in the game (more likely), or to go to the minor leagues to find his form (less likely).  In the meantime, the Mets will patch the ends of games together with Reed Garrett and Adam Ottovino. Brooks Raley’s absence is more glaring when Edwin Diaz is not available or reliable.

If Edwin Diaz does not return to form, and quickly, the 2024 season will seem both longer and shorter as the Mets will struggle to be close to .500. That’s not enough to make any kind of playoff run. Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and the Met’s pitching cognoscenti have a very important job to do and to do it fast before it’s too late. 

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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