Mets manager Luis Rojas’ Edwin Diaz decision: Let’s have some fun analyzing

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Andy Martino
·2 min read
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Edwin Diaz Phillies 5/2
Edwin Diaz Phillies 5/2

It’s great fun to dig into complex manager decisions, provided we do it rationally and without bloodlust for the skipper in question.

After speaking with a few smart baseball folks about Mets manager Luis Rojascall to bring in Edwin Diaz on Sunday night, let’s take a moment with that one, shall we?

Here is a series of points:

  1. With a four-run lead, Rojas opted for a second straight night to use his closer in a non-save situation, drawing some criticism for that.

  2. Save situations are stupid. It’s an arbitrary designation resulting from the “save” statistic, which was created by Chicago sportswriter Jerome Holtzman in the 1960s. As with pitcher wins, managers are catering to save situations less and less.

  3. Unfortunately, pitchers still seem to care and be impacted by it. So there is that.

  4. In this game, Rojas had already used Miguel Castro, Jacob Barnes and Trevor May.

  5. Aaron Loup had pitched Friday and Saturday.

  6. Rojas’ ninth-inning options were to bring May out for a second inning, or go to Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman, Sean Reid-Foley, or Daniel Zamora.

  7. If Rojas had used May for a second inning he would likely have lost him for two days.

  8. With a bullpen game-type situation tonight, Rojas might have wanted to save Gsellman and some of the others for length there.

  9. Could he have started the ninth with Familia? Sure. But check out point 10.

  10. We all know that Familia might have been fine, and might have walked the first two batters and been noncompetitive. That’s who he is nowadays.

  11. Then Rojas would have had to bring Diaz in with men on base, instead of a clean inning.

  12. Having said all the above, let’s put in bold the main reason why this decision was defensible. It’s fairly simple. Rojas wanted to go for the kill against the Phillies. Big game, Sunday Night Baseball, division rival. As a longtime major league executive put it, "You can’t have that comeback and then lose, psychologically." Diaz had been so good lately that bringing him in signaled going for the kill.

  13. It didn’t work out. Tough job, managing a ball club. Hey, at least the Phillies had an even worse time of it.