SEATTLE -- Edwin Diaz had a remarkable first half of the season as the Mariners' closer, but none of the statistics posted by the hard-throwing 24-year-old are more amazing than this: In the 38 games Diaz has entered with a lead, the Mariners are 38-0.The young right-hander has blown three
SEATTLE -- Edwin Diaz had a remarkable first half of the season as the Mariners' closer, but none of the statistics posted by the hard-throwing 24-year-old are more amazing than this: In the 38 games Diaz has entered with a lead, the Mariners are 38-0.
The young right-hander has blown three saves out of 33 chances, but Seattle came back to win all of those games. And the 21 times he's been handed a one-run lead, the Mariners are 21-0 and he's put up a 0.84 ERA with 37 strikeouts and five walks over 21 1/3 innings.
Which is why if manager Scott Servais was pressed on which player has been most critical to Seattle's surprising start and MLB-best record of 25-11 in one-run games, Diaz would be the name that came to mind.
"It's really remarkable," Servais said. "You talk about the first half of the season and so many guys have played key roles so far. But maybe nobody bigger than him. When you win all the close games and have that guy at the back end to turn it over to and have him come through as many times as he has in the one-run games, it's not easy.
"He's been as big a contributor to what we've done here as anybody. He's not out there every day like what Jean Segura has done and different guys -- Mitch Haniger at certain times has carried us -- but he has been the constant at the back end that has allowed us to win all those games."
Diaz's 30 saves are already the most by a Mariner before the All-Star break, and he's on pace to rack up 59 on the season, which would be second in MLB history behind the 62 of Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels in 2008.
Seager will play through toe injury
Kyle Seager has an "avulsion fracture" of his left big toe, similar to the injury that sent Dee Gordon to the 10-day disabled list in May. But after not starting Thursday's series finale in Baltimore, Seager was back in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Royals and will continue playing on the sore foot.
"It's something he's going to have to play with or play through," Servais said. "I don't think it's going to get much worse. We'll have some kind of orthotics made to release some of the stress when he's running. Fortunately the speed part of his game is not as big as it is for Dee. As long as it doesn't bother him in the batter's box, I think he'll be OK."
Seager has been an ironman at third throughout his career, never missing more than eight games in a season since 2012. He doesn't intend to change that now.
Seager said he felt something in the toe on his second at-bat in Wednesday's win in Baltimore, but stayed in that game and hit the game-tying home run in the ninth inning. He pinch hit in the ninth inning Thursday and stayed in the game defensively for the final two frames in that 4-2, 10-inning victory.
"It's not that bad, it's not a big deal. It's a toe," Seager said. "For Dee, it's kind of more important that he is able to run. I lost my green light a few years ago, so I don't do much in the speed department, so it's not too big of an issue, I don't think."
Seager has played in 82 of Seattle's first 83 games.
"He plays," Servais said. "Kyle grinds through it as good as anybody I've been around in a long time. That's what makes him a really good player. He just continues to go out and battle. Some guys let little injuries affect them. He doesn't."
• Erasmo Ramirez, who has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 1 with a strained right shoulder, is playing catch now out to 120 feet and could throw a bullpen session early next week, Servais said. There's no timetable on the right-hander's return, however, as he'll need to build up his arm and go through essentially a full Spring Training before being able to return.
• Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who is on a Minor League contract attempting to return from September shoulder surgery, had a setback during his latest live batting practice session at the team's facility in Peoria, Ariz., and has been shut down again.
Iwakuma went back this week to see Dr. Keith Meister, the Dallas physician who did his initial surgery, and has been cleared to resume throwing again in a few more days, according to Servais.
• Reliever Dan Altavilla hasn't begun throwing yet, but should do so soon as he works back from the sprained right elbow that landed him on the DL on June 7.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.