Edwin Diaz has been pitching well for the Mets this season, even after several days off.

Edwin Diaz has been pitching well for the Mets this season, even after several days off.

With the Mets leading by a lot, just waiting for the normalcy of the last few outings before the cross-country flight home, Edwin Diaz went to work – not on the mound, but in the bullpen. He didn’t play, again, on Sunday, and was perfectly fine with that. Instead, he sat down for a series of practice sessions, but this was one throwaway season that showed his professional growth.

Among the keys to Diaz’s outstanding season: He’s mastered one of his old bugaboos, even if he doesn’t blow it often.

Diaz’s ability to do what he considered a lot of rest – as he will have this week against Miami or Atlanta – and the effort to do so, in the eyes of the Mets’ bosses, is maturity.

“Like any major league player, you go through a maturation process,” said hitting coach Jeremy Hefner. He, of course, continues to do the process just like everyone else. He believed in him and we are seeing the results on the field.”

The dimensions of Diaz’s enormous success are many. His 49.6% strikeout rate is the highest among all pitchers. His 1.40 ERA is fifth among relievers. It showed no chance of recovery in four months.

And here’s another: When pitching on four or more days rest, he has a 0.00 ERA, 0.47 WHIP and a 17-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10 2/3 innings. It does not block it.

As of 2021, by contrast, Diaz had an 8.18 ERA and 1.55 WHIP (and a still-standing 16 strikeouts and three walks) in 11 innings.

Edwin Diaz Has Been Pitching Well For The Mets This
Mets closer Edwin Diaz entered the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 2-1 win on Wednesday night as Timmy trumpeted “Narco,” Diaz’s intro song, playing live at Citi Field.

Credit: Newsday/Tim Healey

“I don’t mind if they don’t put me in the game for three, four, five, six days,” said Diaz, who recently appeared in Milwaukee last Tuesday. “I won’t come to the game, but I will work, work, continue. I can do my exercises.”

The previous problem was that Diaz felt he struggled to fix the mechanics when he wasn’t opening the rig regularly. For some of the issues in 2019, his tumultuous first season with the Mets, and 2020, when he lost his job again for the time being, the frequency with which he and others entered the games became a whole thing. Come closer. He told the pitching coaches and managers who cycled through the organization that he didn’t want to go more than a few days without climbing the mound. Even last year, when he blew three straight innings, he was able to save chances because his delivery was out of trouble, the Mets said at the time.

This year’s solution: Even if it doesn’t turn on, it will keep beeping — or at least pretend to.

On the bullpen mound before each game, Diaz does a “dry run” in the bullpen, completing his routine without a ball in hand, Hefner said. And when he went several days without pitching, he made a habit of completing an entire bullpen session at the end of the day.

This is no different than what other relievers do or have done in the past. But now it is consistent with him.

“His routine is the same every day, maybe it’s changed a little bit over the years,” Hefner said. “The more you can get up there — whether you’re throwing the ball or not throwing the ball — that’s going to help you feel the slope and the way you’re going down the mound.”

Manager Buck Showalter said: “When he gets a little bit out of whack, which doesn’t happen very often, he can get back in sync.” It’s a side job. I don’t think people realize how much it is sometimes. [goes into it]. He’s a pitcher. He gets it, he works on it, he wants to be there for everyone. So that’s good.”

Another benefit of Diaz not going into games for the sake of getting into games: He’s available for multiple innings if needed when the Mets need him. He’s only made five appearances this month, but has gotten more than three hits in two of those games (the last two).

Expect more than that, even if the Mets’ season lasts.

“It’s late in the season, so I want to get in the game when they need me. If you ask me to vote, I will come to vote anytime,” Diaz said. “At the start of the season, maybe three or four days off, I want to make some noise. Now I don’t mind because I can work in the bullpen, so when you need me for more than three outs, be more rested.

Alonso was honored. MLB named Albert Pujols and Pete Alonso the NL Co-Players of the Week. Alonso is slashing .333/.407/.917 with four homers and 13 RBI in six games. Pujols’ two-homer game on Friday included his 700th of his career. He became the fourth player in Premier League history to achieve this feat.


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