To Yoenis Cespedes, what went down in Philly over the weekend, stays in Philly. From his Game 161 ejection to his avoidance of Saturday’s clinching celebration. After Tuesday’s workout at Citi Field, Cespedes sounded eager to start taking out any lingering frustration on the Giants.
“I think whatever happened in the past is really in the past,” Cespedes said Tuesday through an interpreter. “I’ve already forgotten about it. Mentally and physically, I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Cespedes easily swatted a handful of balls deep into the leftfield seats during batting practice Tuesday. And if his right quad remained an issue, he didn’t look affected by it. Three days off probably helped some in that recovery process, even if Cespedes wasn’t about to say his leg suddenly was 100 percent.
“I think the season’s very long and we all end up playing through some injuries and some pain,” Cespedes said. “Not just me, every ballplayer. And I think that these couple days helped everyone out, myself included.”
Cespedes limped to the end of the regular season, batting .203 (14-for-69) with one home run and eight RBIs. Over the past month, among Mets with at least 60 plate appearances, his .398 slugging percentage ranked seventh on the team. Not what anyone would expect from a masher such as Cespedes, but the relatively small sample size should not overshadow the fact that he hit 31 homers before cooling off.
Wednesday’s Citi stage will probably provide a boost as well. Cespedes smacked one of the more memorable home runs from last October in Game 3 of the Division Series against the Dodgers, a tape-measure shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Cespedes punctuated that blast with a GIF-worthy bat flip, and the Mets rode that momentum back to LA before advancing to the NLCS. They’ll be relying on that power again Wednesday, and Cespedes, after a personally depressing weekend in Philly, should be ready to flick the switch.
“I’m the type of ballplayer that really enjoys playing in front of a crowded stadium,” Cespedes said. “I think all of that energy, it actually helps me focus and stay calm and do things well, so I’m looking forward to that.”
The Mets are going to need Cespedes, their most potent threat from the right side, in doing their best to dent Madison Bumgarner. He’s 3-for-10 with a double against the Giants’ lefty ace. This season, Cespedes has ripped lefthanders, hitting .341 with a 1.081 OPS.
“Bumgarner’s a tremendous pitcher,” Cespedes said. “But as we also know, he can’t just throw it in the dirt. He’s going to have to throw it up there at some point. Hopefully we’ll be able to capitalize on that. But the field has the last word, so we’ll see what happens.”