Jeff BassonESPN6 minutes of reading
MIAMI — Star New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz injured his right knee Wednesday night while celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
After Dioscar Hernandez knocked out the game’s choice in a 5-2 victory, he was hugged by his brother, Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Diaz, and eventually surrounded by teammates. The players began to jump together, but stopped when Díaz collapsed in the middle of the group.
As Díaz crumpled on the field, his brother and other players for Puerto Rico, runners-up in the last two WBCs, broke down in tears. Diaz was helped off the field, struggling to put weight on his right leg, and then wheeled away to receive medical attention.
Diaz will undergo an MRI on Thursday to further evaluate the injury. Multiple sources told ESPN they fear the injury could keep Diaz out for a significant period of time until they see the results of further tests beyond the X-rays taken at the stadium.
Diaz, 28, is considered the best closer in baseball, has a fastball that consistently hits 100 mph and may be the game’s best slider. Last year, he struck out 118 batters and allowed just 18 runs over 62 innings, posting a 1.31 ERA and leading the Mets to a 101-win season. Before he hit the free agent market, Diaz re-signed with the Mets for five years and $102 million, a record for a reliever.
Diaz’s loss in any season hinders the Mets’ efforts to win their first World Series since 1986, and in the short term, Puerto Rico diminishes the joy of a win or a home run against its rivals. game. Diaz, who told ESPN earlier in the week that a game against DR “will be like Game 7 of the World Series,” sent a sellout crowd of 36,025 at Lone Depot on 21 pitches in the ninth inning. Stop freaking out.
Then came the moment that rocked the Puerto Rican players.
“I didn’t see it right away,” manager Yadier Molina said. surprise That’s disappointing. When you see a guy like Edwin who works so hard — when you see him on the floor like that, it’s sad.”
Center fielder Enrique Hernandez realized a player was injured after celebrating in the outfield: “It wasn’t until the infield went to the dirt that we realized something was wrong. This time, we didn’t. We knew who it was, and when we got there, we knew who it was. Obviously, Besides being so close to the game right now and being a big part of this team, Sugar is one of the glue guys in the clubhouse.”
Diaz hosted a team party with Javier Baez and Jose Berrios on Tuesday night, the day before the Latin American baseball game.
The Dominican Republic beat Miami with a star-studded lineup, an ace-filled rotation and a devastating bullpen. After the DR and Puerto Rico lost to Venezuela, they headed to the final game of Pool D against each other, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s quarter-final against Pool C winner Mexico.
With vuvuzelas tooting and flags flying and one fan tucking a banana into the waistband of his jeans, a tribute to Platano Shakti, who led the DR over Puerto Rico in the 2013 WBC final, was revenge. Puerto Rico’s third inning in the 4th inning led a DR team consisting of Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez, Manny Machado and Rafael Devers.
Puerto Rico, whose players and staff dye their hair blonde before each WBC, as they beat the DR in 2006 and 2017, the latter of which Diaz shut down. Led by Molina, a 10-time All-Star who caught for the team that last lost to the United States in the WBC final, Puerto Rico reeled off five straight wins to begin its third and never looked back.
Christian Vasquez led off DR starter Johnny Cueto with a home run. Vimal Machin hits a single. Martin Maldonado dropped a bunt single; Francisco Lindor drove in Machin with a single to left; And Hernandez plated Maldonado with a Baltimore chop single over Machado’s head. MJ Melendez’s RBI groundout gave Puerto Rico a 4-0 lead.
Soto cut it with a titanic shot to start the bottom of the third off Jovani Moran, sending it 92 mph and 448 feet to dead center. Puerto Rico answered when Lindor singled up the middle in the fifth and Rodriguez misplayed a ball that bounced off the wall and allowed Lindor to bookend around the bases to extend the lead to 5-1.
The bottom of the fifth was DR’s final chance. Against Alexis Diaz, they loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single. With no outs, Machado entered. One swing later, he grounded into a double play. Despite scoring a run, Diaz escaped the inning unscathed, and Puerto Rico’s bullpen held firm until the ninth inning.
As the bullpen door opened, Edwin Diaz came out — with “Narco,” the entrance music for his visit to Citi Field. With each out, the field was louder, and in the end, the cheers for Puerto Rico’s victory were deafening.
That soon changed, and by the time Puerto Rico’s players returned to the clubhouse, the sound was almost non-existent.
“Calm down,” Hernandez said. “It comes to a certain point that it becomes bigger than a sport. Something very unfortunate happened. We were excited about the sport and everything, and it was one of our brothers. Some of us grew up together, all that. It’s true that it’s easy to put the sport aside and worry about us as human beings. The Dominican Republic It certainly doesn’t feel like defeating and moving on.”