Edwin DiazRight now, everyone is fretting about Edwin Diaz because he’s been, well, terrible. And a whole lot of people are coming up with reasons for why he’s been this bad. Yet no one is going for the low-hanging fruit that relievers tend to bunch their bad games together.

Every season, the overwhelming number of relievers go thru a bad stretch, which typically lasts from 6-12 games. Now, a reliever can certainly have more than one bad stretch in a season but it’s incredibly rare to go an entire year without a stretch of lousy pitching.

This 6-12 game stretch typically sees the reliever posting an ERA of at least twice his full-season rate and it’s not all that unusual for it to be 3X or more as bad. In 2022, Diaz had a 1.31 ERA and he allowed just 9 ER the entire year. And nearly half the runs he gave up came in a six-game stretch from 5/12-5/24. In 5.2 IP, Diaz allowed 4 ER for a 6.35 ERA. That’s nearly 5X as bad in his rough stretch as he was over the entire season.

Back in 2017, injuries and ineffectiveness led the Mets to use their lefty specialist Jerry Blevins as their primary setup man. And while he was being used in this way, he went into a bad stretch. In nine games, he had a 12.46 ERA.

This bad stretch prompted me to look at other relievers in then recent history. From 2011-2017 there were 30 seasons where a reliever for the Mets pitched at least 40 innings. And 28 of them had a stretch of consecutive games where they had an ERA at least twice as high as their eventual season-ending mark. The only two that didn’t double their ERA were 2011 D.J. Carrasco, who posted 10.13 ERA in his bad stretch and 2012 Ramon Ramirez, who had a 7.59 rate.

After that nine-game stretch, Blevins went on to put up a 2.14 ERA over his final 31 games. He was good before the streak and good after it. And that’s what typically happens

In 2022, the Mets acquired Mychal Givens at the trade deadline. And Givens had the misfortune of his bad streak happening as soon as he was picked up by the Mets. In 40 games with the Cubs, Givens had a 2.66 ERA. But in his first 11 games with the Mets, he posted a 10.61 ERA. But once that bad stretch was over, Givens hurled 11.1 scoreless innings to finish the year.

And what happened to Givens in 2022 happened to David Robertson in 2023. Robertson was fantastic with the Mets, as he posted a 2.05 ERA in 40 games. But as soon as he was traded to the Marlins, the bad streak happened. In 10 games in the month of August, Robertson had a 9.00 ERA. But once that stretch was over, he put up a 1.74 ERA in the final 10.1 innings of the season. That’s even a bit better than he was with the Mets.

As for Diaz, he had a 0.93 ERA the first 10 games of the season before the bad streak hit. Now, in his last eight games he has a 10.80 ERA. There might be a few more clunkers yet to come, so the Mets would be wise not to use him as a closer for the next week. But odds say that if you give him a few games to pitch in the sixth inning, he’ll likely snap the bad streak and revert to form.

It’s been painful to see Diaz blow save chances in a stretch where the Mets haven’t been ahead all that often in the ninth inning. But this bad stretch isn’t a reason to go to DEFCON 1. All relievers, good ones and bad ones, as well as mop-up men and closers, go thru these bad stretches. In this case, the best thing is to remember Marc Maron’s advice for a bad trip.

Sorry for the bad video quality but the sound is good and that’s all you really need.

11 comments on “Edwin Diaz and his rough stretch

  • TexasGusCC

    You’re right, the video wasn’t up to modern standards but the audio was, and well worth it.

    As for Diaz, you make a good point. But, I have also read: If you’re rebuilding and don’t plan to contend for a few years, is it worth holding onto him? That’s an interesting argument.

    • Brian Joura

      I’m glad you clicked the link. Maron’s my favorite comedian but he doesn’t do a lot of stand-up anymore.

      I’m sure I was in the minority but I didn’t want the Mets to re-sign Diaz. He was absolutely fabulous in 2022. But there was no guarantee he was going to be that way for the life of the contract. The injury was a freak thing and I don’t hold that against him. But he pretty much needed five years like he put up in ’22 to be worth the contract and odds were overwhelmingly stacked against that happening. He was great in 2018 and again in ’22. But he wasn’t great in 2019 or 2021.

      I thought it was worth discussing trading him in the offseason. His value would have been low due to the missed season but you probably could have gotten 80-90 cents on the dollar for him. Now? You couldn’t get anything close to that. Maybe if he goes lights out from now until the trade deadline you can get back to that 80 cents level, maybe. I’m open to dealing him but my opinion is that a large part of the fanbase would be up in arms over losing “the best closer” in the game.

      For the most part, you can’t turn over a rock and find a great SS or a great CF or a great C. But guys come out of the woodwork every year to be great closers. Robert Suarez and Mason Miller weren’t anyone’s picks to be elite closers prior to the start of 2024 yet here we are. Shoot, we don’t have to look any further than our own pen and Reed Garrett. If they do trade him, it makes it easier to get under the draft-pick penalty tax threshold, which should be at least a tiny consideration.

  • Metsense

    Sage advice, Brian. Mendoza has a good feeling for the game and his personnel. It will be curious to see if he takes your advice.

  • ChrisF

    I blame the preposterously stupid WBC. And well, all the logical things you said Brian. We also know as the track record lengthens Diaz is not just a rough patch person but a good year bad year person. The 2022 year made us all think he broke that, but it’s not.

    128 – 2017 – ok
    208 – 2018 – great
    74 – 2019 – bad
    246 – 2020 – great
    117 – 2021 -bad
    297 – 2022 – great
    71 – 2024 – bad

    • TexasGusCC

      Chris, in the U.S. we all agree that the WBC is senseless. But to MLB, the WBC i$ an opportunity to a$$e$$ other market$ for po$$ible revenue $tream$ from adverti$ement and memorabilia $ale$. To the players, it’s a chance to play for their country while still having a guaranteed paycheck. To MLBN, it’s a chance to bullshit fans into caring enough to get sponsors to ante-up.

    • TexasGusCC

      In a way, putting it in the spring was brilliant. Fans having missed baseball will tune in to watch something more than a spring training game of unknown players. If they put it in December or January, would anyone care after a long eight month season of competition? And in February, football season is just finishing up, plus, I’m sure the MLBPA doesn’t want its members inconvenienced by cutting short their off season.

      • ChrisF

        It’s useless because unlike the World Cup in “soccer” it’s mostly meaningless across the world because baseball, like it or not, is not a world sport. In Premier league football, 2 times every season the matches stop for international qualifying play. And it sucks because players do get hurt and their club teams suffer for it. But the World Cup makes the World Series or Super Bowl look like ham sandwich. The WBC is basically nothing but an injury risk for their main teams with so little upside it’s just folly. Sorry, I know. A lot of people like the wbc.

  • NYM6986

    While I went to college in the ‘70s and was no choir boy, I never did “trip.” Funny video. Hang on man is all we can really do and I’d rather weather Diaz’s rough spot than send him packing. Perhaps he is tipping his pitches. Maybe he should speak with Severino about that. That being said I’d bet he bring a haul at the end of the year if he returns back to form.

  • Mike W

    Here is the problem that I have with Diaz. It is called $ 20 million a year. That is a tremendous amount of money to pay an up and down guy.

    • TexasGusCC

      Can you imagine if he was getting $34MM? Or, say $43MM? Or, if he was wanting a new contract for 10 years at the rate of the GDP of a small country?

      • Mike W

        Absolutely not. The Mets need to go full throttle for Soto. He is 25 and would be in the middle of the lineup for the next 10 years.

        I keep saying it, Pete is mot a good investment. I would go all out at the deadline to deal him. In free agency, someone will offer him more that the Mets, same as deGrom. How did he work out, what, six starts in two years.

        The team needs some more stripping down and building up this offseason.

        And McNeil, all of 2023 and 50 games into 2024, is 210 games of complete less than mediocrity.

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