Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Three-Homer Night Shows Mets' Cano Coming Around

Robinson Cano. @Mets.

Robinson Cano had the night the Mets have been waiting for all season when he hit three home runs to lead them to a 5-2 win on  Tuesday night over the San Diego Padres.

Cano is just the 13th Met in franchise history to have a three-homer game (14th time overall), with the last done by Yoenis Cespedes on April 11, 2017. He is only the third to do it at home, joining Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Cano has been on a tear in the ten games since the All-Star break, as he has a slash line of .342/.366/.789, going 13-for-38 with two doubles, five home runs, nine RBI, and nine runs scored. In his last ten games at Citi Field, he is hitting .432 (16-37).

Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of Cano's big night, "We were seeing signs of it a little ways back when he was hitting the ball hard, but hitting it at people, and then he went through that period where the groundballs started finding holes, and now he's driving the ball. Three homers, I mean it doesn't happen often - that's the first time he's ever done it - but you could see the power and the stroke coming. So, he's done a great job of working hard, he's been on a plan, and he's been working diligently every day to have a night like tonight."

Cano's first homer was a solo shot in the fourth, which was just the Mets' second hit of the game against San Diego starter Chris Paddack.

In the sixth, after Alonso led off the inning with a walk, Cano launched another bomb to right field off Paddack for a two-run shot to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The same formula worked again in the seventh against Logan Allen, as Alonso drew a two-out walk, and then Cano launched another homer into right field to make it 5-0.

Cano hit all three on offspeed pitches, and Callaway said of him handling those pitches better, "When he's a little more quiet and he's not trying to jump out there to get the fastball, he's able to stay back and get those breaking pitches and he's able to cover not only the fastballs and drive them the other way or drive those through the hole, but catch the change-ups and curveballs and get some air underneath them."

Callaway said of what he has seen in Cano that gives him hope he is still a top hitter, "His stretches are really good. You don't hit three home runs if you're declining. You don't hit three homers if you're declining if you've never done it in your career, you know what I mean. The power's there, the swing is there, the hands are there. You know, he went through a tough stretch, and a lot of players do that. Robinson Cano probably hasn't been through many of them in his career - almost everybody else has, so it stands out a little bit more when it happens to a player like Robbie, but he's going to right the ship and he has."

Cano now has five home runs since the All-Star after he had just four (including one at Citi Field) in the first half. 

Callaway said of Cano's power surge, "We were just talking about that. This game is crazy, that's why it's the best game in the world, anything can happen. Comes out tonight, three homers, almost doubles his home run total, it's an amazing game."

Hitting coach Chili Davis was credited by Cano after Tuesday's game with helping him immensely in getting back on track.

Callaway said of Chili's influence, "I think everybody needs a coach, needs instruction. I think everybody wants that, right? To just feel like you're out there on an island is never a good thing, especially when things are going bad. I think that, obviously, Chili's experience is instant credibility with everybody, I mean, he played the game for, what, 19 years. He's unbelievable, hit from both sides of the plate. I think it's more who Chili is and what he's about, than what he did on the field, and I think that's what it is about every good coach. It's who there, what do they care about, how do they connect with the players, and Chili does an amazing job with that, and I think that Robbie values that very much."

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