Mancuso: Cano Set His Signature

Robinson Cano had a career night Tuesday at Citi Field. Three home runs put Cano in the record books and now  the oldest second baseman at 36-years of age to do that. An epic night for Robinson Cano who placed his signature as a New York Met.

And for the first time this season we saw Robinson Cano with his signature smile. More importantly this was what the Mets expected from Cano. It was not three home runs in one game that was expected, the third Met to do that at Citi Field, but a productive game at the plate was expected and with more consistency.

We expected that first blockbuster trade  made by GM Brodie Van Wagenen to have an impact. And Robinson Cano was a key part of that deal along with closer Edwin Diaz.

Let’s say on Tuesday night that Robinson Cano arrived for the Mets. He has been more confident at the plate since the All-Star break. Tuesday night he looked like the Robinson Cano who made an impact all those years up in the Bronx with the Yankees.

The Mets have four more years with the contract. If that miserable first half carried into the second half then you say Robinson Cano is a declining player and all signs showed that. But Tuesday night there were no signs this was a declining player.

“We were seeing signs of it obviously a little ways back when he was hitting balls hard but hitting it at people,” manager Mickey Callaway said. 

Callaway alluded to power that was returning and his stroke. He complimented the work ethics  and as Calalway said, “working diligently every day to have a night like tonight.”

And it was a night to remember in Flushing. Three home runs off a changeup, curveball , and a fastball to finish a trifecta in the seventh inning. 

“You don’t hit three homers if you’re declining,” Callaway said. 

The runs that came across provided starter Jason Vargas enough comfort at the time and he delivered 6.0 shutout innings en route to his fifth win, The bullpen took over and Edwin Diaz recorded his 22nd save as the Mets beat the Padres 5-2.

That’s five home runs in the last nine games for Cano. He also attributes hard work and the Mets can only hope that the consistency continues.  It does not have to be the home run. You want to see Robinson Cano get on base and contribute.

Yes, it may be too late for the Mets to make a comeback and get back in contention for a wild card. If this was Robinson Cano of the first half then the Mets could be talking about a pennant race. The Mets have four more years with the contract that was brought over from Seattle.

“It was hard for me to hit four,” Cano said with a broad smile.

He was smiling and so were Mets fans who never saw one of their heroes hit four home runs in one game at the ballpark. Cano became the third Met to hit three along with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Lucas Duda.

Dominic Smith said about Cano,  “ He works hard. It’s a long season. I never saw someone hit three in one game except when I was down in the minors.”

And if we don’t see another three home run game from Cano this season, or for that matter the next four years, at least it can be said it was done. Cano also became the oldest second baseman in baseball history to hit three.

Cano said, “As a player there are a lot of things in the game that you would like to do to see how it feels. And this really feels good.”

 It should feel good. Mets fans never thought they would see this coming even though Mickey Callaway saw something we didn’t. 

On  this night Mets fans were cheering. There was no talk about a $96 million dollar contract. No talk about trading  top prospects to Seattle to obtain Robinson Cano. And no talk about a lackluster first half of a season that possibly saw a career in decline.. And there was no talk about getting rid of this contract.

Smith and those teammates of Cano, including winning pitcher Jason Vargas, who by the way is a trade target, all said it is a long season. They watched and were aware, about the dedication and hard work of Robinson Cano.

The first career three home run game and a historic night for Robinson Cano. He said to himself,  there would be a day when it would turn around. 

Five home runs in the last nine games and hitting with confidence. That’s good enough to be classified as a turn around and that has to feel good also.  

But three home runs in one night at Citi Field set his signature. 

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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