Few people know Edwin Diaz, the pitcher and the person, better than Alexis Diaz.
The Reds star closer said he speaks with his brother three or four times a day. He was there when Edwin was injured in March, and he watched his brother’s climb to the mound from afar.
Sure, Alexis might be biased, but he knows when his big brother pitches well and when his big brother pitches poorly. Recent video clips of his brother back on the rubber told Alexis that Edwin was starting to return to being the pitcher Mets fans have grown to love.
“Especially that last bullpen session he had a few days ago — that sounds like the pitcher of the past,” Alexis Diaz said through interpreter Jorge Merlos on Friday. “It seems like he’s getting really close to where he could be.”
“Just like the pitcher he used to be.”
Alexis spoke before recording the final five outs of a 5-3 Reds victory at Citi Field and after Edwin went to his hotel Friday morning to catch up with his brother.
The two are close and were thrilled to have the opportunity to play together in the World Baseball Classic, which ended in horror.
In the minutes following Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic, Edwin jumped and felt his right knee buckle. He collapsed with what was diagnosed as a torn patellar tendon.
Their father, Edwin Sr., told ESPN that Alexis blamed himself for the injury, believing his hand on Edwin’s back during the celebration caused his brother to collapse.
Alexis only regained her peace of mind by seeing the images again.
“We then watched the video of what happened,” Alexis said, “and of course I was not the cause of it.”
Edwin helped clear his brother’s mind, then filled it with notes that helped make Alexis an All-Star. The Reds closer has been almost as dominant as his brother was as the Mets closer last season. Alexis recorded his 37th save Friday and owns a 2.10 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 64 ¹/₃ innings.
Even in the biggest moments, Edwin always seems calm on the mound. He preaches the same composure to his little brother, who is in the middle of a playoff race.
“It’s all about knowing how to control your emotions when you’re on the mound and how to compete with these hitters, how to attack the zone,” Alexis, 26, said of Edwin’s advice. “Just those little things that will prepare you for the playoffs as well, because he’s been in those situations before and he knows how to deal with it. So he told me all these things just to prepare me for the future.
Edwin hopes his immediate future is a big championship game. When the Mets travel to Florida to face the Marlins in a series that begins Monday, the right-hander is expected to travel to Port St. Lucie where he will throw from the mound at the Mets complex.
There’s still a chance that six months after surgery, Diaz will play in a major championship match. His brother expects him to look like Edwin Diaz again.
“She’s exactly that kind of person,” Alexis said. “He knows he has to do enough work to get back to where he should be.”
New York Post