Perhaps if the Mets knew Yoenis Cespedes would hit three home runs the day after, the might ask someone to take one for the team every day. For results like a 14-4 blowout of the Phillies Tuesday, you might find any number of Mets willing to take a pitch upside the head the night before.
When Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos tried to decapitate Asdrubal Cabrera Monday night, the Mets turned a two-all tie into what proved a 4-2 win when Jay Bruce hit his second homer of the night, a bomb that hit the rim of the upper deck right on the screen showing an impression of his own mug.
Cespedes did the preponderant damage as the Mets decapitated the Phillies Tuesday. Before the fifth inning ended, even. And if you take Mets manager Terry Collins’s word for it, nobody should have been shocked. “Did you see him in BP?” the manager marveled after the game. “He was hitting them out like a driving range.”
Before Phillies starter Clay Buchholz could recover from an eight pitch leadoff walk to Curtis Granderson and a seventh-pitch double whacked by Cabrera to open the game, Cespedes fouled off the first two pitches he saw—hitting the deck on his can with one of those swings while he was at it—before hitting the third into the bottom of the low bushes behind the center field fence.
Bruce promptly grounded out to second and Buchholz shook himself out of further trouble despite a pair of singles to follow, but then Bruce singled home Granderson (one-out double) and Cabrera (followup single) in the second. That made things 5-0, Mets, but the real fun hadn’t even gotten started just yet.
They made it 6-1 in the third—Maikel Franco led off the Philadelphia second with a solo bomb off Mets starter Matt Harvey—with Travis d’Arnaud’s one-out RBI single, sending home Jose Reyes who’d doubled immediately preceding. Obviously Collins didn’t quite need the FBI to find his heretofore-struggling man, after all.
Then came the fourth, Buchholz out of the game thanks to a forearm strain, and Adam Morgan opening the fourth. Then came Cabrera hitting the first pitch of the inning over the left center field fence. And then came Cespedes on 2-2 to hit one past the foul pole and the second deck behind that fence.
When the Phillies pushed a kind of excuse-us run home in their half of the fourth, it was as if Cespedes were saying, “Excuse me?” With two outs and a 1-1 count he hit about eight rows into the lower left field seats. And in the sixth Lucas Duda more or less said, “Hey, don’t leave me out of the party,” sending a one-out, 2-2 pitch over the higher ivy on the back center field wall.
Cespedes did his best to pile on in the seventh with his two out double but Bruce flied out to left to end that inning. It was the only inning on the day during which the Mets wouldn’t score. No sweat, they said, when Travis d’Arnaud smashed a two-out two-run homer with Neil Walker (leadoff double) aboard, and Duda showed he meant business about being part of the party when he homered to right with two out in the top of the ninth.
In between, the Phillies managed two more runs. The Mets had another one to score not long after d’Arnaud connected, when Cabrera singled home T.J. Rivera, who’d batted for Mets reliever Hansel Robles. The Phillies got those other two on an RBI double and a run-scoring groundout on the dollar of another Mets reliever, Josh Edgin.
Robles relieved Matt Harvey with two out and nobody on in the bottom of the sixth when Harvey’s left hamstring tightened up on him, while covering first on Michael Saunders’s grounder, and Collins took no chances. His starter had acquitted himself marvelously enough, allowing only two runs on five hits with six punchouts before the ham tightened.
Alas, Harvey was the only Met not to get even one of their twenty hits on the day. That hardly mattered as much as the possibility of him missing at least one start while his ham recovers. For a guy who’s come through Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, any ding Harvey suffers alarms the Mets even while they’re having a laugher otherwise.
The Phillies have a beatdown from which to recover. Mackanin might be forgiven if he began his postgame postmortem by advising his pitching staff that it’s not a brilliant idea to awaken sleeping giants (the Mets were hitting about .190 as a team before Monday night’s game) no matter how much you didn’t like them flipping their bats on game-winning home runs.
Five active players have had three-bomb days at Citizens Bank Park: Cespedes, Charlie Blackmon, Ryan Braun, Jayson Werth, and Jose Reyes. Cespedes is also the only Met in franchise history to have a three-bomb game twice.
“Any player that hits three homers would have fun,” Cespedes said after the game through his interpreter. “I think I was seeing the ball well.” Now, where did he get that idea?