Edwin Diaz is a two-length pitcher who has been operating without a quality slider for the majority of this season. With the help of Jacob deGromHowever, it seems that Diaz can recover his cursor.
Coaching Phil Regan said last week that Diaz was about to rediscover his slider, and the director Mickey Callaway said after Wednesday's release that it was the best he had ever seen with Diaz – adding that he was now using the sliding handle of Grom.
Diaz hit the side when he appeared on Wednesday night, getting Jason Heyward, Nicholas Castellanos, and Kris Bryant all swinging.
Of the 13 throws that he pitched on Wednesday, Diaz has launched seven sliders. He used the field to push up three goals against Heyward and Bryant. Diaz drew Bryant on three courts – all sliders – getting a hit called, then a foul, then a swinging shot.
"I think that in the future, if I can cast my cursor like I was doing tonight, I think I have a lot of success," Diaz said through an interpreter. after the match, according to Greg Joyce of the New York Post. "The last five, six or seven outings I've had, my slider is here."
Since DeGrom learned the grip, Diaz looked much better. He said Wednesday night that he was now gripping the slider and being able to locate him better.
Diaz has almost completely lost the ability to throw a slider over this season was disconcerting, and is the same problem that raging Noah Syndergaard for essentially the entire first half of the season.
One of the potential reasons for slider problems that both throwers have been able to solve is perhaps the new ball, which is smoother, has lower seams and is harder to handle. Syndergaard said earlier this season that baseballs looked like "ice cubes".
While Diaz's slider did not move as he usually did earlier this season and he was struggling to locate him, he was still throwing it because he had to. As good as Diaz's fastball was, he needed to keep honest hitters by mixing his slider so that they could not just sit on the fastball. And continuing to launch the inefficient slider at once was often disastrous.
But with a tighter hold on the slider and the disconcerting hitters in the games, Diaz might have finally found a solution, much like Syndergaard. And if Diaz is able to regularly present a slider like the one he used on Wednesday night, he could start to look like the pitcher who was the most dominant reliever of the majors in 2018.
RELATED: This is what happened Wednesday in Mets Land >> Read more
RELATED: Callaway remains confident despite Mets' bad track record >> Learn more
RELATED: Maddon loved what Mets did on the deadline >> More