After his two worst starts of the season, Edwin Diaz needed to bounce back in a big way. On Sunday, he did just that.
Seattle's No. 8 prospect scattered three hits over nine innings in his first complete game as Class A Clinton topped Burlington, 1-0, at Community Field.
"It was incredible to see the expression on his face. [It] was very exciting and [we were] very happy that he got the complete game," LumberKings pitching coach Cibney Bello said. "Unbelievable game tonight for him. It was very exciting for me and the whole team."
On July 24 vs. West Michigan, Diaz allowed four runs on four hits over 1 2/3 innings. The 20-year-old then yielded four runs -- three earned -- on three hits across 1 2/3 frames on July 29 at Quad Cities. In the troubling starts, it was the finish that caught Bello's attention.
"[Sunday he was] falling to the catcher and not going side to side," he said of the improvement. "We've been [working on it] the whole season, but the last two outings, [that was] the main thing he was doing that I was trying to get him not to."
With the improved delivery, the Puerto Rico native only needed 88 pitches in the gem. He struck out five and didn't issue a walk for the second time this season, although a couple pitches did get away from him.
"The wild pitch was a changeup down in the zone, ahead in the count, he was pretty much missing down in the zone. The hit-by-pitch was on an 0-2 count that he was trying to come inside on the plate and it ended up hitting the hitter," Bello said. "He has the stuff that can be the type of guy to throw seven innings or six innings, he just has to polish off his stuff."
The win boosted the 6-foot-2 right-hander to a 4-7 record and lowered his ERA to 3.55. After the game, Diaz was given the game ball. He asked manager Scott Steinmann to label it and his teammates to sign it.
"This should help him have more consistency [and confidence] because he played a really good team and faced really good batters," Bello said. "He was down in the zone [and] it was unbelievable to see him control the game from the start to finish.
"For only being 20 years old, he's only getting better, I think very soon, we're going to have a big leaguer in Seattle."
Martin Peguero singled in the only run of the game in the fourth.