Going into Wednesday’s game, New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz had converted 35 straight saves on the road, which was tied for the eighth-longest streak by any pitcher since saves became an official stat in 1969.
Although it was not a save opportunity, Diaz pitched at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, working around a base hit to wrap up the Mets’ 7-3 win. The Los Angeles Dodgers had previously gotten to Diaz in 2018 when he was closing for the Seattle Mariners.
Albeit an extremely small sample size, there at least was some recent familiarity for the Dodgers, which may have played a role in their walk-off win.
The four runs Diaz gave matched his total during the aforementioned streak of 35 consecutive gaems. After the game, he was honest in admitting that the game was the worst he could remember but credited the Dodgers hitters for putting good swings on the ball, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“Today was easily the worst day of my career, the worst game of my career, the worst game of the season for me,” said Diaz. “I thought I threw excellent pitches. They were strikes. I was throwing the ball where I wanted to and they just got me. My mentality doesn’t change. I was throwing my fastball, I was throwing my slider. I was throwing my fastball with good velocity. But they just kept hitting the ball. They just got me good today.”
The inning started with back-to-back home runs from Joc Pederson and Max Muncy to bring Los Angeles within one run. That was followed by back-to-back doubles from Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger to tie the game.
An intentional walk and infield single loaded the bases for Alex Verdugo, who gave the Dodgers a victory with a sacrifice fly.
Diaz has built a reputation as one of the best closers in baseball over the last two seasons, leading the league in saves with 70 while pitching to a minuscule 2.26 ERA with 159 strikeouts in 95.2 innings. He has only blown six saves since the start of 2018, with two coming at the hands of the Dodgers.
What made the win so impressive for Los Angeles was not only that they were facing one of the game’s best, but it also was something that they were unaccustomed to doing. The Dodgers went into the game 0-16 this season when trailing going into the ninth inning.
The comeback showed shades on the 2017 season when seemingly everything went right for the Dodgers – up until the World Series – but perhaps this win will be a start of another great run that leads back to the Fall Classic and ends with the first parade in Los Angeles since 1988.