NEW YORK — New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz is really good at giving up home runs — and he’s made it into the record books as a result.
On Friday night, Diaz tied a major-league record by surrendering his 14th homer in the ninth inning this season.
Former big-leaguer Francisco Rodriguez also allowed 14 ninth-inning homers in 2014 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Edwin Diaz has now allowed 14 9th inning HR this season, tying Francisco Rodriguez (2014 with Brewers) for the most such HR allowed in a season in MLB history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 7, 2019
The Mets have now allowed 31 9th inning HR this season, the most such HR allowed by a team in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/wGCXij0guy
Diaz, who threw his arms up as the ball sailed out of the ballpark, was booed off the mound after recording the final out of the inning.
New York ultimately defeated Philadelphia 5-4 on a walk-off walk by Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, making a winner out of the former All-Star Diaz — who is better known on social media these days as “Edlose.”
“I think it’s been a lot of bad luck,” Diaz claimed through an interpreter. “Sometimes I leave bad pitches over the plate and they just pop out and I get outs, but it’s just been a little bit of bad luck. But I go out there every time and I just try to get outs because I know my stuff is pretty good.”
Pretty good stuff.
And yet, horrendous results.
In his first season with the Mets, Diaz has a 5.88 ERA, seven losses and seven blown saves in 52 innings. The 25-year-old lost his closer role, but was needed in the ninth on Friday with primary fireman Seth Lugo resting. Lugo had pitched in the previous two games and needed a day off. The Mets had also used lefty Justin Wilson, another option, in the eighth.
So in came Diaz.
And — like so many other times in 2019 — the Mets’ lead disappeared as a result.
“I just stay positive all the time,” Diaz said. “Today I thought I actually did a pretty good job, but it was just the one mistake that I made. I’m just going to keep going out there and keep working.”
You’d think the results would dictate otherwise, yet Mets manager Mickey Callaway plans to keep using Diaz, who also briefly lost his closer role with the Seattle Mariners in 2017, in high-leverage situations.
So keep bracing for impact, Mets fans.
“Diaz has to be good for us to get to where we want to go,” Callaway said. “So we’ll continue to run him out there in those situations when Lugo’s not available or Wilson’s not available. And if he doesn’t get the job done, then we won’t get the job done.
“It’s hard to put your finger on (the homer issue). We’re gonna continue to have faith in him and put him in situations because we have to to get where we want to go.”
Diaz was the signature offseason acquisition of first-year GM Brodie Van Wagenen. It cost the team top prospect Jarred Kelenic.
Combined with the subpar performance of setup man Jeurys Familia (6.43 ERA) — signed to a three-year, $30 million deal — it has been an absolute disaster.
Diaz was supposed to be the piece to get the Mets over the top in their question to make the playoffs. But he may end up being the piece that prevents them from reaching the postseason.
His fastball command has been poor. His slider has been ineffective. He has shown an inability to read swings.
And sources have maintained that the pressure of playing in New York — and all the booing he’s heard as a result of his implosions — has gotten to him.
Nevertheless, the Mets were able to make a winner out of Edwin Diaz on Friday night, celebrating their walk-off victory, of course, by ripping off Alonso’s jersey.