Mets plan to ‘mix and match’ at closer amid Edwin Diaz's struggles

After dropping the first two games of the series in Miami to the lowly Marlins – the second of which after losing a four-run lead with one out in the ninth – the Mets were in need of a quick response.

They got one immediately in the first inning, pushing across four runs on a pair of two RBI hits first from Tyrone Taylor and then from Harrison Bader.

For manager Carlos Mendoza the early response “shows a lot about that group.”

“It shows a lot about this room right here, especially after that game [Saturday] for us to come out in that first inning and right away putting pressure and real good at-bats up and down the lineup,” Mendoza said after the Mets’ 7-3 win. “Not an easy weekend, not the way we expected it.

“But we just gotta continue to move forward, continue to take one day at a time and start winning series. But today was a huge win for us.”

Brandon Nimmo, who walked in that first before socking a two-run home run in the ninth, likened it to the movies.

“It’s a ‘Rocky’ saying, but it’s not how hard you can hit, but it’s how hard you can [get] hit and get back up,” Nimmo said. “We’ve been hit pretty hard in the last couple of weeks, so I am proud of the guys bouncing back, especially after a night like [Saturday].”

In normal times, Nimmo’s homer (as well as Brett Baty’s RBI single a few batters later) would have been the knockout punch putting the Mets up four runs with just three outs to get. It would be a foregone conclusion Edwin Diaz would slam the door.

But after a series of poor outings and Diaz admitting he is low on confidence – his role was described as “fluid” before the game – Mendoza decided to stick with Reed Garrett to go for a six-out save after the journeyman right-hander needed just 14 pitches to strike out the side in the eighth.

“Stay on the attack. The execution of all of his pitches, the split was good, fastball had life, you could tell by the swings they were taking of his pitches that he was on today,” Mendoza said. “That was good to see.”

But this doesn’t mean the closer role is Garrett’s as Mendoza had Adam Ottavino warming in the bullpen.

“Otto was ready, but after watching him pitch that eighth inning… he was pitch efficient in the eighth, I decided to stick with him,” the manager said.

Mendoza later added that the closer situation will be “one day at a time and put guys in position to have success. We’ll mix and match and see what we got.”

For his part, Garrett said the bullpen still trusts in Diaz.

“We all believe in him. We all know that he’s going to be back,” Garrett said after lowering his ERA to 0.72 on the year. “We all know that he’s elite when he’s right. And we all know that we’re going to do everything we can to get him right.

“Whenever my name’s called, I’ll pitch. But I know as a collective unit we all believe in Edwin and we know what he can do.”