Mariners’ closer Edwin Diaz has three saves already this season, his latest coming in a 6-4 win over the San Francisco Giants Tuesday. Only one ball has been put in play against the 24-year-old right-hander, and eight of his nine outs recorded have been strikeouts.
It’s hard to remember that this is the same player who was removed as the team’s closer last May. According to ROOT Sports Mariners broadcaster Mike Blowers, the best still lies ahead for Diaz.
“His stuff has been ridiculous here at the beginning of it,” Blowers said during his weekly interview with Bob, Groz and Tom on 710 ESPN Seattle. “The hitters have had no chance at all. You’re seeing some just terrible swings, especially at his slider… I think he’s somebody that is really special.”
One of the best things Blowers has seen from Diaz isn’t his slider, though; it’s his ability to overcome a poor outing. Diaz hit two batters during his shaky opening night appearance, though he still got the save.
“The big thing is I think the first outing was huge for him. He struggled, hit a couple of batters, was struggling with his command, ends up striking three guys out to get out of it. Take a deep breath, move forward. And since then he’s been unhittable. But I thought that was a big moment for him.”
Blowers knows Diaz will have command issues from time to time, but seeing how he bounced back from that first appearance of the year was a good sign.
“He’s still going to have a game where he’s going to get hit around or he’s not going to have his command. I think he’s better equipped now to bounce back from that, which was something he struggled a little bit with last year,” said Blowers, a former Mariners third baseman. “Or maybe when he’s in-game, like he was in the opener, and things are moving pretty fast, he’s probably overthrowing a little bit through the excitement of it all. But he found a way to calm down and get out of that inning. I think was big for him.”
You can hear a highlight of Blowers’ interview embedded above or find the entire segment in this podcast from Bob, Groz and Tom’s show Wednesday.