When you’re a star, you come through in big moments. You live for them, and that’s what Yoenis Cespedes does for the Mets.
They Mets got Cespedes, and will likely break the bank for him, for nights like Tuesday when he slugged and threw the Mets into a vital crunch-time victory.
CESPEDES: Has a flair for dramatic. (AP)
“When you’re a star, that’s what they do,” manager Terry Collins said. “That’s what Ces does. That’s why he’s here. That’s why he gets paid.”
Of his 70 RBI, seven have given the Mets the lead for good, including his two-run homer to dead center in the seventh inning of their 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“When the team is down, I know I have to focus,” Cespedes told SNY.
As I’ve written several times, extending his current three-year, $75-million contract could hamstring the Mets financially in other areas, but there’s no denying this guy is a primetime player. Cespedes carried the Mets last year into the World Series, and he’s doing the same this summer. Five of his 28 homers have tied a game, while eight put the Mets in the lead.
As if that isn’t enough, Cespedes threw out Brandon Phillips at second to end the eighth.
There’s no other descriptor other than clutch.
Cespedes was one of four Mets’ homers, giving them 189 for the season. Curtis Granderson, Jose Reyes and Alejandro De Aza (he hit their 11th pinch-hit homer of the season) crushed the others.
Clearly, Cespedes was the storyline tonight. The others were Rafael Montero and newly acquired reliever Fernando Salas.
MONTERO OFF: Probably the best thing one could say about the performance of the Montero is it could have been worse.
The problem of command that has been an anchor to Montero dragged him down again.
Montero walked four in 4.1 innings. The killer was the walking Zack Cozart in the third as he scored ahead of Adam Duvall’s home run that tied the game.
The two walks Montero gave up in the first two innings, as well as the six in his first start, didn’t hurt him. But, you can only dance out of trouble for so long. Wildness would eventually catch up, and that’s what happened to Montero.
Throwing 79 pitches in less than five innings is the kind of stuff that has always hindered Montero, and is the obstacle keeping him out of the major leagues.
“He’s working hard to stay out of the middle of the plate and he’s missing,” Collins said. “That’s what gets him in trouble. But, I’m very impressed with his arm.”
SALAS LEADS BULLPEN: The Mets have been looking for a seventh-inning stopper for their bullpen all season.
Hansel Robles spit the bit, but perhaps Salas could fit the bill. The Mets picked up Salas in a waiver deal, Aug. 31, from the Angels in exchange for minor league pitcher Erik Manoah.
Robles was sensational from June 21 to August, going 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA. However, he had a meltdown on the mound at Yankee Stadium, Aug. 3, when Mark Teixeira rattled his cage. Since then, he’s given up 15 earned runs in his last 16 innings.
Salas was the fifth of seven Mets’ pitchers – the September call-ups issue must eventually be addressed – and put the Reds down in order in the seventh.
Josh Edgin, Gabriel Ynoa, Josh Smoker, Salas, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia – who registered his 46th save – followed Montero, just the way Collins drew it up.
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