Advertisement

The Mets' bullpen with a healthy Edwin Díaz has helped New York rebound from a rough start

Edwin Díaz's season-ending knee injury in March 2023 was probably the first sign the season wouldn't go as planned for the high-priced New York Mets.

Now he's back, leading a bullpen that has helped the Mets recover nicely from a poor start.

New York has won 12 of 16 after beginning the season with five straight losses. The Mets have taken two of three on the road against both Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they're only 2 1/2 games out of first place. Last year, they lost all four series they played against the Braves.

New York's bullpen is 8-3 with a National League-best 2.95 ERA. Díaz has four saves, Reed Garrett is already 3-0 in relief, and Brooks Raley has not allowed a run in seven innings. Adam Ottavino has 14 strikeouts without a walk.

Those relievers, plus a rotation that lacks star power but has been mostly fine so far, have helped the Mets overcome substandard starts with the bat by Francisco Lindor and Francisco Alvarez, the latter of whom is now on the injured list with a thumb problem.

New York's six-game winning streak was snapped Sunday with a loss to the Dodgers. The Mets stay out west for a series against San Francisco before returning home to face the Cardinals and Cubs.

TRIVIA TIME

Díaz had 32 saves in 2021 and 2022, becoming the seventh pitcher in Mets history to have at least 30 in a season. Who are the other six?

DIGGING A HOLE

The Dodgers took the series finale against the Mets 10-0 on Sunday, and are in first place in the NL West despite being just two games over .500. A couple other division champs from last year aren't so lucky.

Minnesota (7-13) has lost six of seven and just dropped two of three at home against Detroit. That leaves the Twins already eight games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians — not to mention five back of Kansas City and four back of the Tigers. Minnesota was the only team in the division to win more than 78 games last season, but it looks as though the Twins won't have it as easy this year.

The Houston Astros (7-16) are a bit more fortunate, since they trail first-place Texas by only five games in the AL West. That's about the only positive sign at the moment for the Astros, who have allowed 124 runs — only Colorado has permitted more. Houston dropped two of three in Washington, capped by a 6-0 loss Sunday.

COMEBACK OF THE WEEK

The Tampa Bay Rays were down to their last three outs in the ninth, 10th, 11th and 13th innings, but eventually beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-6 on Tuesday night. Tampa Bay had a 1.4% chance to win according to Baseball Savant when the Rays trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and nobody on. After a pair of singles, José Caballero tripled home both runners to tie it.

The teams traded runs in the 10th and 11th. And after Los Angeles scored in the top of the 13th, the first two Tampa Bay hitters struck out. Richie Palacios then hit a tying double. A pair of walks — one intentional and one not — loaded the bases before Amed Rosario beat out a slow bouncer to third for the winning hit.

LINE OF THE WEEK

Travis d’Arnaud hit three home runs, including a grand slam, in Atlanta's 8-3 win over Texas on Friday night.

TRIVIA ANSWER

Jeurys Familia — 51 in 2016, 43 in 2015

Armando Benitez — 43 in 2001, 41 in 2000, 33 in 2002

Billy Wagner — 40 in 2006, 34 in 2007

John Franco — 38 in 1998, 36 in 1997, 33 in 1990, 30 in 1991 and 1994

Francisco Rodriguez — 35 in 2009

Jesse Orosco — 31 in 1984

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Noah Trister, The Associated Press