Mets’ Edwin Diaz thrives in unconventional outing


Throughout the season, Edwin Diaz repeated that he was eager to prove himself in the playoffs, a mythical land he had not yet seen.

The wait was over for the playoff-first pitcher in Saturday’s seventh inning when he came in and fired a scoreless frame to protect a one-run lead.

And then he waited. And waited again. And some more as the Mets set up a four-point bottom of the seventh in which they forced the Padres’ pitchers to throw 50 pitches.

About 45 minutes after completing the seventh inning, Diaz returned to the mound to start the eighth with the Mets up five runs in a curious decision by manager Buck Showalter in the season-staying 7-3 win at Citi Field. Mets alive. .

The Mets manager said he wanted Diaz for the seventh because of the Padres’ roster pocket: Trent Grisham, a No. 8 hitter who had hit twice in the series, was leading. Showalter planned to leave with two innings from Diaz, who could then switch to Adam Ottavino for the final outs in an ideal Mets world.

Edwin Diaz delivers a pitch in the eighth inning of the Mets’ 7-3 win over the Padres.
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg

The Mets’ endless bottom of the seventh ripped off the plan. Diaz, who said he had never experienced such a long wait between sets, threw a few throws into the cage at James McCann to try to stay warm on a chilly night.

After his seventh effective, in which he induced key ground takeouts from Grisham and Juan Soto, Diaz reappeared for the eighth against the hearts of the Padres order. Diaz forced a ground takedown from Manny Machado before walking Josh Bell four pitches. Diaz bounced back to take out Jake Cronenworth before Showalter finally pulled him out after 28 total throws – nine after the long break.

Ottavino and Seth Lugo combined to register the final outs of a win that kept the season going, but raised an important question: Will Diaz be available for Game 3 on Sunday?

« We’ll see, » Showalter said of whether his top reliever would be ready. « Who knows what [Sunday] could bring.

Diaz, who hadn’t pitched since Tuesday and had been used in just nine games since Sept. 1, was more confident.

« If they need me for more than three outs, I’ll be ready because we have to win. [Sunday] »Diaz said.

Showalter didn’t want to worry about Sunday before worrying about Saturday.

“We have to put this one under our belt,” Showalter said.


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