Edwin Diaz’s music wasn’t playing as he jogged in from the bullpen, so he hummed “Narco,” by Blasterjaxx and Timmy Trumpet, to himself.
Nothing can throw off the Mets’ All-Star closer these days. Not the potent Braves. Not his manager asking him to get six outs. Not even his popular entrance music being delayed.
“They were doing a promo or something,” Diaz said with a smile after closing out a 6-4 Mets victory in the first game of a five-game showdown series against the Braves at Citi Field. “I thought they might not play my song here, because they just play it in the ninth, so I was trying to run with the song [in my head].”
Diaz retired six of the seven batters he faced in the 28-pitch outing, struck out three and earned his 24th save. He lowered his ERA to a microscopic 1.44 ERA in recording the first six-out save of his career and extending his scoreless streak to a personal-best 16 ¹/₃ innings.
Diaz expected to come in during the eighth inning, in part because he last pitched on Friday. He figured Adam Ottavino would at least start the eighth after pitching the seventh, but with the meat of the Braves’ order coming up, manager Buck Showalter called on Diaz to start the frame. And since he had such little trouble retiring Dansby Swanson, Matt Olson and Austin Riley, needing only 11 pitches to get through the inning, Showalter went to Diaz in the ninth as well.
“I was ready for it,” he said. “I feel good, I feel fine. It was five days off.”
Showalter and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner checked on him following the eighth, and Diaz wanted to stay in,
“Go out and win the game,” they told him.
Diaz had a little bit more trouble in the ninth, allowing a leadoff single to Eddie Rosario and falling behind Orlando Arcia with two outs. He admitted to feeling a tad tired as his pitch count rose into the high 20s, but Diaz got Arcia on a check-swing groundout on a 3-0 pitch to wrap up the Mets’ ninth win in 10 games.
It was the latest brilliant performance from Diaz, who has gone from a dismal disappointment in his first year with the Mets in 2019 to one of the rocks of the NL East leaders. Fans now are rejoicing at the sight of him running in from the bullpen rather than curling up into the fetal position.
“A lot of people don’t rebound from that here, or anywhere,” Showalter said. “Keep in mind that it wasn’t always aesthetically pleasing for him here. That’s what I’ve learned [about him]. He’s taken that and grown from it, and used it as a springboard.”