Josh Bell #9 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with teammates...

Josh Bell #9 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run against against the New York Mets during the ninth inning at loanDepot park on May 18, 2024 in Miami, Florida.  Credit: Getty Images/Rich Storry

MIAMI — As Edwin Diaz sat at his locker, head in hands and tears falling, Francisco Lindor walked over and rubbed his back.

Fellow reliever Sean Reid-Foley, one of only two other players in a nearly empty Mets clubhouse, came from across the room to join them. He crouched down and got in real close.

Moments earlier Saturday night, the Mets had suffered perhaps their worst loss of the season — falling to the Marlins, 10-9, in 10 innings — after Diaz’s struggles deepened. It was hard to know what to say or how to help, so they did what they could, letting their teammate and friend and beleaguered, emotional closer know that they had his back — figuratively and literally.

Diaz entered with a four-run lead against one of the worst offensive teams in the majors, usually a layup for a righthander widely regarded as among the best in baseball. He faced five batters, recorded one out and allowed four runs.

As Josh Bell’s tying three-run home run soared 428 feet to centerfield, Diaz couldn’t watch. He turned around to look at catcher Tomas Nido, realizing the ball had landed on the wrong side of the fence only when he saw Bell celebrate.

The game ended when Otto Lopez shot a single up the middle against Jorge Lopez in the bottom of the 10th.

“I won’t lie, my confidence I feel like is down,” Diaz, whose ERA has ballooned to 5.50, said as his voice cracked. “I’m making pitches, I’m throwing strikes, I’m trying to do my best to help the team to win. Right now, I’m not.”


Carlos Mendoza agreed: Confidence is Diaz’s primary problem.

Diaz is totally fine physically, both insisted, a natural question after he missed all of 2023 because of a knee injury. Last month, command of his fastball was spotty. This time, his signature slider was “all over the plate,” Mendoza said, and more cutter-like. That meant moving less, which meant getting hit more, which has resulted in a lack of self-belief.

“Obviously, when you have one of the better pitchers, the best closers in the game, going through what he’s going through, it comes down to confidence level,” Mendoza said.

“Right now, you can tell he’s putting pressure on himself because he’s not getting results. But we will continue to work with him. He’ll get through it.”

Diaz said: “The confidence is the main thing for a player. If your confidence is high, you will perform the way you want to. When you got low confidence — like I was feeling today a little bit — I just try to make pitches and get my clean inning, try to [regain] my confidence.

“But that wasn’t today.”

Diaz has blown three leads in six days. Asked if the Mets would consider removing him from the closer role, as they did under previous leadership for brief stretches in 2019-21, Mendoza did not say no.

“Look, you know, it’s one of those — I gotta talk to the coaching staff, I gotta talk to Edwin,” Mendoza said. “Whether we’re going to find him some softer spots to get him going, he’s still our closer. He will get through it. He’s too good of a pitcher for him to continue to struggle for a long time. We will have these conversations and see what we got.”

Diaz said he doesn’t think a spell in non-save situations is necessary, but if that is what Mets decision-makers want, he gets it.

“I’m open to everything,” he said. “If they want to talk to me about that and I feel good about it, I agree — I just want to win games. In any position they put me, I want to reform my confidence again. When they need me in the ninth, I will be back.”

For 8 1⁄2 innings, the Mets (20-25) beat up on the Marlins (15-32).

Luis Severino (6 1⁄3 innings, five runs) outpitched Braxton Garrett (4 1⁄3 innings, six runs). J.D. Martinez and Mark Vientos helped build a two-run lead in the first. Harrison Bader and Jeff McNeil had back-to-back two-run singles in the fifth. Brandon Nimmo scored three times. Starling Marte had three hits. Reed Garrett and Adam Ottavino pitched well enough to get the ball to Diaz.

“If they give me the ball tomorrow,” Diaz said, “I will do my job.”


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