Edwin Diaz faces suspension after ejection for ‘sticky stuff’ violation

The Mets’ 2024 season has been nothing short of a nightmare, trailing behind the Braves, Phillies, and Nationals in the NL East. The misery continued on Sunday when their star closer, Edwin Diaz, found himself embroiled in controversy.

In a game against the Cubs, Diaz was ejected for allegedly using a foreign substance on his hand. Called in to secure a 5-2 victory, Diaz barely made it to the mound before officials inspected his hands and glove, leading to his removal from the game. He now faces a 10-game suspension under MLB Rule 6.02, though he has the option to appeal.

Diaz’s season has already been rocky, with a 4.70 ERA over 23 innings and a stint on the injured list due to a shoulder issue. This comes after missing all of 2023 with a serious knee injury sustained during the World Baseball Classic. Despite these challenges, he has managed 33 strikeouts to seven walks in his return.

Edwin Diaz ‘Sticky Stuff’ Ejection: The Details

Diaz’s ejection came after second-base umpire Brian Walsh noticed a sticky substance on his hands and glove just as Diaz was about to pitch the ninth inning. Walsh alerted his colleagues, leading to a thorough inspection by the umpiring crew. Third-base umpire and crew chief Vic Carapazza ultimately decided on the ejection, citing the substance’s stickiness as “definitely not rosin and sweat.”

Diaz vehemently denied any wrongdoing, asserting that he only had the usual rosin, sweat, and dirt on his hand. “I was really surprised because I didn’t have anything on my hand, my glove, my belt,” he said. “They always check my hat, everything. They just thought that it was sticky a lot.”

Carapazza, however, stood firm in his judgment. “We’ve checked thousands of these,” he explained. “I know what that feeling is. This was very sticky.” The umpires determined that Diaz’s hands were stickier than permissible, leading to his ejection.

A close-up of Diaz’s hand appeared to support the umpires’ suspicion, showing dirt and grime smeared across his throwing palm. The incident casts a shadow over Diaz’s season and adds to the Mets’ already considerable woes.

 

Implications for the Mets’ Playoff Hopes

Diaz’s potential suspension could be a significant blow to the Mets’ already dwindling playoff aspirations. Losing their top reliever for ten games would further strain a bullpen that has struggled throughout the season. With tough games ahead and the team needing every win they can get, Diaz’s absence could be a decisive factor in their bid for a postseason spot.

In a season marked by setbacks and disappointments, this latest controversy adds another layer of difficulty for the Mets. Whether they can overcome this and make a late push for the playoffs remains to be seen, but the path just became a lot steeper.

 

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Why Edwin Diaz faces suspension for ‘sticky stuff’

A foreign substance ejection automatically triggers a 10-game suspension, a rule enacted after MLB’s 2021 crackdown on “sticky stuff.” For Edwin Diaz and the Mets, this could be a costly setback. While Diaz hasn’t had a stellar 2024—his ERA+ is 95, just below league average—he remains one of the most dynamic arms in New York’s bullpen. His fastball velocity, chase rate, whiff rate, and strikeout rate are among the best for relievers.

Diaz can still appeal the suspension, though it’s unclear if he plans to do so.

In the meantime, the Mets turned to Drew Smith and Jake Diekman to secure the win against the Cubs. Smith got the first two outs before Diekman struck out Patrick Wisdom to earn his third save for New York.

As of June 24, the Mets are just one game behind the third wild card spot, making every game crucial in their push for the postseason.