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When Luis Rojas tries to break down what's been going wrong with Mets closer Edwin Diaz of late -- he just blew his third straight save opportunity on Monday night -- he doesn't need to look too hard.
"For me, it's location," Rojas said, as he's set to serve the final game of his suspension on Tuesday. "The command is getting in the way."
Diaz has been erratic with his stuff lately, and Rojas added that it's reminiscent of what happened in 2019 when Diaz lost his control entirely.
"We’ve seen some of the pitches the last two weeks or so that are similar to some of the pitches he made in 2019," he explained. "When that slider is backing up, when that fastball is saving and it’s moving more laterally than vertically, it’s the Edwin Diaz of ‘19 for the most part.
“But this is a small sample size that we think can just bounce back to the Diaz we’ve seen for the majority of the season. That’s what he’s working on right now and all pitching coaches are around him.”
The trust has been surrounding Diaz since he came over from the Seattle Mariners two seasons ago, and he reiterated that sentiment when he spoke to reporters as well.
“They trust in me and I’m 100 percent. I was talking to [pitching coach Jeremy Hefner] and he told me that. ‘We trust in you. You’re our guy out there.’ I’m calm. I gotta do my job. I’m really good right now.”
Diaz isn't one to back down from the criticism. He knows he hasn't done his job of late.
And while Rojas said it's command that Diaz is battling with, the flamethrower thinks one more thing can be changed, too.
"The first batter’s got to be the main thing for every pitcher. If you get the first batter out, we’ve got better results," Diaz said. "Yesterday, I got the walk and the other day the hit by pitch. If I can get the first guy out, it can be easy for me.”
So settling in right from the jump is the obvious want for a pitcher, and it's no different for a closer in a tight spot to finish a game.
Diaz said he was told to be ready Tuesday night, so we'll see if that work on his mechanics will change the results of late. The Mets certainly hope it will.