Much of the attention, justifiably, in the Mariners’ recent surge focuses on their attack (which leads the majors this month in scoring) and their rotation (which has a 1.41 ERA in their eight-game winning streak).
It’s easy to overlook a reenergized Edwin Diaz at the back end of the bullpen.
Since allowing a walk-off homer in an Aug. 30 loss at Texas, Diaz has five saves in six scoreless outings. He has permitted just one hit in that span while allowing no walks and striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings.
“After that (Texas) game,” he said, “I set my mind that I’ve got to try to win every game. Those things are going to happen. We lost that game, and I reset my mind to try to attack the hitters even more.”
Diaz hasn’t only been effective; he’s also been efficient.
He threw more than 11 pitches only once in his last six appearances. The exception was a 16-pitch outing on Sept. 8 in a one-two-three inning against the Rangers that included two strikeouts. In contrast, Diaz averaged 26.8 pitches over his previous five outings.
“Eddie continues to throw the ball well,” manager Scott Servais said. “He hasn’t backed off. It hasn’t really bothered him when he’s had a rough one, which is great to see with a young pitcher.”
While Diaz leads all relievers with 16 saves since Aug. 1, when he replaced Steve Cishek as the closer, it wasn’t until his current streak that he flashed the unhittable form that he routinely displayed in a setup role.
Diaz had a 1.80 ERA through 24 appearances prior to becoming the closer, but that more than doubled — to 3.95 — in 13 August outings despite registering saves in 11 of 12 opportunities.
Now, when it matters most, he’s regained his earlier form. His last three saves required that he protect one-run leads on the road and, each time, Diaz worked a one-two-three inning. The only difference, he said, is mind-set. Instead of trying to paint the corners, he now employs a more-aggressive approach.
“Go after them with my fastball,” Diaz said. “I just try to throw my fastball in the middle and then work with my slider.”
No messing around.
Atlanta’s Ramirez suspended
Atlanta Braves reliever Jose Ramirez has been given a three-game suspension by Major League Baseball for throwing a pitch near the head of Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. The commissioner’s office says Ramirez has decided to appeal, so he remains eligible to pitch until the process is complete.
The announcement was made Friday by MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr.
Atlanta’s Nick Markakis and Miami’s Martin Prado were hit by pitches during a game Wednesday. In the seventh, Fernandez was batting when he ducked under a high pitch from Ramirez, who was ejected. Both benches emptied during a brief fracas, but no punches were thrown.
Clearing the bases
Mets’ right-hander Jacob deGrom (right forearm) is scheduled to start Sunday against the Twins in his first appearance since Sept. 1. First baseman Lucas Duda (lower back) is to be activated from the DL Saturday. Righty Noah Syndergaard will start Monday’s series opener against Atlanta on five days’ rest. … Milwaukee CF Keon Broxton left the Brewers’ game against the Cubs with a broken right wrist after slamming into the wall in left-center while tracking down Tommy La Stella’s drive. … After missing six weeks with a separated shoulder, Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes broke his right wrist during a minor league rehab assignment and is likely done for the season. Gomes sustained a non-displaced fracture when he was hit by a pitch Wednesday night for Double-A Akron.
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