Edwin Diaz nearly blows it for Mets, exits with tight back

PHILADELPHIA — The 2019 version of Edwin Diaz resurfaced Sunday night, and only a favorable video review and a game-ending bailout by Jeurys Familia spared him and the Mets from full-blown disaster.

Entrusted with a four-run lead in the ninth inning, Diaz was fortunate to cough up only three before departing with what the Mets termed a stiff back in a wild 8-7 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

“Four-run lead, we thought Diaz could shut the door for us, so that was the decision,” Luis Rojas said. “We were going with him because of the way he’s thrown the ball. We wanted to shut the door and we felt pretty confident that he was gonna do it.

“Unfortunately, what happened, and how tight he got, he couldn’t finish his pitches, it basically put him in a tough spot.”

Diaz, who had posted eight consecutive outings without allowing an earned run since April 10, walked his first batter, Didi Gregorius, to open the ninth. Roman Quinn then plated the first run of the inning with a one-out triple to right-center.

Edwin Diaz
Edwin Diaz left the game with a stiff back after nearly blowing a four-run lead for the Mets on Sunday night.
Getty Images

After a strikeout of Odubel Herrera, Diaz also walked Matt Joyce for runners on the corners with two outs. Hoskins followed with what originally was ruled a game-tying homer to right, but the play was overturned via replay — despite the ball appearing to clear the railing — and Hoskins was told to return to second base in an 8-7 game.

While the review was taking place, Diaz motioned for a trainer and was replaced by Familia, who struck out Bryce Harper on a 2-2 fastball with the tying run on second for the final out.

“When [pitching coach] Jeremy Hefner made a mound visit, [Diaz] told him that his back was a little tight but he could still pitch and wanted to pitch through it,” Rojas said. “He got tight throughout the outing, and after [Hoskins] doubled, when they were checking the replay, I noticed that [Diaz looked] tight.

“It was tough for him to really rotate with his core and get extension on his pitches, so that’s when we pulled him. We’ll see how he is [on Monday].”

In his first season with the Mets in 2019 following a trade from Seattle, Diaz suffered seven blown saves and was hammered for 15 home runs and a 5.59 ERA over 66 appearances. Before Sunday’s outing, the righty had rebounded to post a 1.77 ERA over 27 games in 2020 and 2021.

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