Flushing, NY: You can’t win them all and the Mets season eight eight-game winning streak was snapped at Citi Field Sunday afternoon. A win could have put them atop the NL wild card standings pending results of other teams bunched and fighting for the same thing.
But the Washington Nationals had a purpose. They would refuse to get swept again at Citi Field after a four-game sweep in May. They were the better team and their bullpen came through with a 7-4 win that salvaged the finale of an important series in August.
The Mets came in having won 16 of their last 16 games. They crawled back into contention for a wild card spot and were six games off in the loss column from the first place Atlanta Braves.
Of more concern is with their supposed closer Edwin Diaz.The Latino Sports AL 2018 MVP Relief Pitcher of the Year, continued to be ineffective. Diaz let a close game get away in the ninth inning and two runs gave the Nationals that added insurance.
And though manager Mickey Callaway has said, in a round -about way, that Diaz is still the closer, there may have to be other options. A slider that got away again, this time to Victor Robles in the ninth inning went for a two-run homer to left.
That was the 11th home run allowed by Diaz this season in 44-⅔ innings. The area of concern for the Mets is how long they can rely on Edwin Diaz and his proficiency to give up the home run ball. In this case it cost the Mets as they head to Atlanta Tuesday for another important three-game series.
However, Diaz wasn’t the only culprit out of the Mets’ bullpen. Justin Wilson in the seventh inning allowed two runs. Asdrubal Cabrera, the former Met who recently re-signed with the Nationals, hit a fastball to right that scored two runs.
That got the Nationals the insurance run.
With the exception of Jeurys Familia, another Latino Sports MVP Relief pitcher, who retired all three Nationals via strikeouts in the 8th inning, the bullpen for the first time during this three-week span of wins failed to keep the Mets in this one.
Of course, most of the issue centered around Edwin Diaz. It is difficult to understand his continued struggles and as to why a closer who saved 57 games for the Seattle Mariners last year has not found a way to be that same pitcher.
It was a slider from Diaz. That pitch continues to be an issue.
“Just tried to throw it out and away and get an out,” Diaz said through an interpreter.
Manager Mickey Callaway said that Diaz will remain his late inning guy. The issue is, and more importantly, the Mets can not afford to give up games in the late innings now that they have worked themselves back into contention for a wild card spot.
“We went 6-1 on the homestand,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “I don’t think you can ask for a better homestand than that.”
But in a nutshell, the Mets need to get Diaz right. Their next test begins Tuesday night down in Atlanta.
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