In mid-July, Mets closer Edwin Diaz's struggles in years past appeared to be reemerging after he blew three straight saves.
Diaz had a strong first-half for the Mets, going 18-for-19 on save chances with a 2.86 ERA and was a big part of the team's success, given their ability to pull out one-run victories. But in the finale of the first act of the season, Diaz blew a save to the Pirates, before squandering away his next two save opportunities.
However, he has since flipped the script, ripping off nine straight saves with a 1.13 ERA across this span. He has also walked a mere three batters in his last 16 innings, while allowing just two-runs.
"A guy that's blessed with so much talent like Edwin is, I think every time they go through a little bit of adversity, they only get better," said manager Luis Rojas prior to the Mets-Nationals series opener in D.C. on Friday. "As he is more mature now as a pitcher and a human being, I think he is able to absorb everything quicker."
"All pitchers go through a little thing," Rojas said."If they take it the best way, they grow out of it and I think that is what Edwin did when he went through that stretch and that's why he has been so dominant for the last two months."
Diaz also had a strong month of August, going 4-for-4 on saves with a 1.80 ERA and 12 strikeouts.
"I think Edwin's command is the key," said Rojas. "I think two things have played a big role here, 1-command, and 2- I think it has been the slider, which is at its best right now. They worked on a new grip, so he has better command of it and it has paid off so well, so I think those two things have been key."
In his last two outings, Diaz retired all six batters he faced, striking out four of them to help the Mets capture a sweep of the Marlins.
Among all qualified MLB relievers, Diaz is now tied for second with a 2.0 fWAR ranking.
If the Mets are going to pull off a miraculous run to the playoffs, they are going to need Diaz to keep locking things down for them in late-inning affairs.
As long as Diaz can continue to be that anchor in the ninth inning, the Mets have a pretty good shot at pulling out close ball games down the stretch of the season.
Remember, the Mets' strong pitching staff played a big role in the team's first-place standing for three straight months of the season.
Mixed with timely hitting, which the Amazins' have received as of late, Diaz and the pitching staff must keep doing their part in order to get the team back on track.