Brad Lidge expects bounce-back year for New York Mets’ Edwin Díaz

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ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 15: Edwin Diaz #39 of the New York Mets pitches in the ninth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 15, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Former All-Star closer Brad Lidge expects Edwin Díaz to have a bounce-back year for the New York Mets after he struggled in 2019.

The New York Mets and their fans thought they hit the jackpot when they traded for closing pitcher Edwin Díaz prior to the 2019 campaign. In 2018, while a member of the Seattle Mariners, Díaz made his first-ever All-Star Game and won the American League Reliever of the Year Award. He ultimately finished with a 1.96 ERA and led the American League with 57 saves.

But Díaz wasn’t the same in Queens. He struggled mightily all year and was one of the low-points of a below-average bullpen. The Mets don’t seem like they want to deal him this offseason though and believe he’ll greatly improve in 2020. They’re not the only ones who think this either. Former All-Star closer Brad Lidge, on his SiriusXM show on MLB Network Radio, discussed Díaz when speaking to SNY’s Andy Martino.

“The Mets don’t need to do anything in that bullpen,” Lidge said. “Because if Edwin Díaz and Jeurys Familia, if they get back to even close to their normal selves, then this could actually be one of the better bullpens in the National League.”

Díaz finished the 2019 season with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.379 WHIP. He posted 26 saves, 31 fewer than his 2018 total.

Breaking his pitching style down, Lidge believes Díaz doesn’t have to throw the fastest pitch each time. Instead, he should be focusing on the location of each pitch.

“You got to figure out how to pitch. You got to go from a thrower to a pitcher,” he said. “I think he needs to evolve on the command of the slider, and realize it’s not just something you throw as hard as you can. You can’t throw everything 110 percent. Maybe back off a little bit here and there, and learn the command of the pitch. The fastball is still electric…it shocks me he gave up as many home runs as he did last year.”

Díaz and the rest of the bullpen finished 25th in the majors last year with a combined ERA of 4.95.

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