Seattle’s Edwin Diaz reacts after getting the final out of Monday’s game at Safeco Field. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle’s Edwin Diaz reacts after getting the final out of Monday’s game at Safeco Field. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Mariners wary of overusing closer Diaz

It’s the middle of June and Edwin Diaz is well ahead of pace, remarkably, for an end-of-season haircut.

Not his own. Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais bet him earlier in the season that he’d get the same waves shaved into the side of his head that Diaz has if the Mariners’ closer saves at least 50 games this season.

Diaz recored save No. 25 with a 1-2-3 ninth inning on Tuesday in the Mariners’ 6-3 victory, with Diaz striking out Mike Trout for the final out.

Servais was asked Wednesday about Diaz’s saves pace.

“I’m aware,” he said with a wry smile. “Guys are starting to talk about barbers and different things like that. But I’m OK with that.”

Diaz actually is on pace for 60 saves, if he keeps this up. Only the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez has at least 60 saves in a season, recording 62 in 2008. And a closer accumulating 50 saves in a season has occurred just 16 times in baseball history, with the save becoming an official MLB statistic in 1969.

And since Diaz allowed four runs in a four-run loss to the Rangers (taking a loss) and another run his next appearance against the Rays (blown save), he has pitched 6 1/3 scoreless with six saves and eight strikeouts, holding opponents to a .190 batting average.

“He’s gotten back to establishing his fastball,” Servais said. “You’ve seen more fastballs out of him lately, and that’s been by design. It’s helped him get a feel for the slider.”

Servais made their 24-year-old closer from Puerto Rico unavailable for Wednesday’s series finale against the Los Angeles Angels because he had pitched three consecutive games entering the day and four of the previous five games, including a four-out save against the Rays on Friday.

Diaz leads the majors in saves and with four more than Red Sox’s Craig Kimbrel (21). He was also second in the major leagues among relievers in strikeouts, with 58.

Two more strikeouts before next month’s All-Star break, and Diaz will become the first American League pitcher with 25 saves and 60 strikeouts before the midsummer classic, something he appears a lock to be competing in.

But the Mariners have also used him in 36 games so far this season after appearing in 66 all of last season (with 34 saves).

“His efficiency has been amazing, it really has,” Servais said. “But we have to be smart. Fortunately he hasn’t had a lot of those 20-25 pitch innings. They’ve been low, but we want to be smart with this whole thing. We have a lot of ball games left to play.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

First year Mariner football head coach Tyler Tuiasosopo gathers his team for a talk between drills during practice Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, at Mariner High School in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mariner ushers in new era with coach Tyler Tuiasosopo

The 2008 Marauders alum is “living my dream” after taking over for the recently retired Mark Stewart.

Seattle Seahawks' Cade Johnson, right, reaches for the ball after he fumbled on a punt return as Chicago Bears' Davontae Harris (16) and Dazz Newsome, upper right, reach for the ball during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Seattle. The ball was recovered by Bears' Elijah Hicks for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Seahawks struggle in all phases, thumped by Bears

Seattle is plagued by dropped passes, poor tackling, penalties and special teams mistakes in a 27-11 loss to Chicago.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Canadians hand slumping AquaSox 5th straight loss

Everett mounts a late rally, but falls 9-8 for its 12th loss in the past 14 games.

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd (24) gets the rebound and makes a break around Storm center Tina Charles (31) as Washington Mystics center Shakira Austin (0) watches during the first half of Game 1 of a WNBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Late surge lifts Storm over Mystics in Game 1

Jewell Loyd scores 12 points in the final five minutes as Seattle earns an 86-83 win in the first of a three-game series.

Kenai Sinaphet takes the hand off from head coach, Dalton Schwetz, during practice Wednesday afternoon at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on August 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Fresh start’ for Marysville Pilchuck under new coach Schwetz

The Tomahawks begin practice without longtime coach Brandon Carson, who stepped down following last year’s playoff run.

Stanwood's Ryder Bumgarner rushes with yardage with Arlington's Trenton Lamie, left, closing in the third quarter Friday night at Stanwood High School on September 24, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep football: 5 storylines to watch this season

A look at some intriguing questions as local high school football practices get underway.

The Central Welding Supply 125, which serves as the season finale at Evergreen Speedway, will attempt to run on Saturday, after being bumped postponed last weekend due to weather.
Community roundup: ARCA West comes to Evergreen Speedway

Plus, a host of local collegians earn preseason honors, Jake Luton gets released by the Jaguars and more.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox fall to Canadians in slugfest

Everett loses 12-8 as the two teams combine for 30 hits.

Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Raleigh homers twice, Mariners top Angels to complete sweep

Seattle hits four total home runs in an 11-7 win over Los Angeles.

Most Read