The struggles for Edwin Diaz continued on Sunday, after the right-hander entered the game in the top of the ninth with the Mets trailing the Nationals, 5-4. By the time the inning was over, Washington had tacked on two more runs, thanks to a two-run home run by Victor Robles.
Mickey Callaway said after the game that the team has no plans to use Diaz in more lower-leverage spots to try to get him back on track.
"At this point, the way we're set up, we really can't afford to do that," Callaway said. "He's going to continue to get big outs for us and pitch in big games. We're going to pick our spots and do the best that we can with him to win a game every single night."
With two outs and a 2-1 count on Robles, Diaz went to the slider. But the pitch stayed in the zone and allowed Robles to rip a line-drive home over the wall in left.
"In the series, he's had trouble hitting the slider, so that's why I threw it," Diaz said through a translator. "I just didn't locate it well and that's why he hit it out. I was just trying to throw it low and away and try to get a groundball.
Diaz hadn't appeared on a game since Aug. 5, but has now allowed home runs in three of his last four outings, and four of the last six.
"It's been tough," Callaway said. "The common denominator in all of his homers is that they're right down the middle. We didn't execute a pitch. That's normally what happens when you give up a home run. But we're going to work hard and be diligent in getting the ball where we need to. We still have faith in Edwin."
For his part, Diaz remains optimistic that he can still turn things around.
"I try to have a positive attitude every single time," Diaz said. "I'm just trying to get out of the rough stretch I'm in right now. If I'm frustrated all the time, it's just going to get worse. Every single time on the mound, I'm just trying to get better.