Cespedes thrilled to reach LCS for first time

After being ousted twice in ALDS in Oakland, outfielder savors run in New York

Cespedes thrilled to reach LCS for first time

NEW YORK -- For Yoenis Cespedes, the third time was indeed a charm.

Despite leading the A's offense in consecutive postseason series in 2012 and 2013 with a .350 average and a .920 OPS, hitting safely in all 10 games, his Oakland clubs lost decisive Game 5's to the Detroit Tigers in the divisional round.

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After being traded from the A's to the Red Sox in July 2014, the Cuban-born slugger missed out on the postseason. But this year, after being sent to the Mets by the Tigers in a Trade Deadline deal, Cespedes was finally able to savor a postseason series win when New York defeated Los Angeles in Game 5 of their Division Series on Thursday.

Game Date Matchup
Gm 1 Oct. 17 NYM 4, CHC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 18 NYM 4, CHC 1
Gm 3 Oct. 20 NYM 5, CHC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 21 NYM 8, CHC 3

Now Cespedes has his eyes on the ultimate prize, with the Mets facing the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series starting Saturday night at Citi Field.

"I'm really happy. I think this is the biggest thing I've had happen to me in my career," he said. "I didn't have the chance to advance those two years with Oakland in the playoffs."

Cespedes, as was the case in his two playoff series with the A's, made an impact at the plate against the Dodgers. He finished the series with two home runs, four RBIs and four runs scored.

Going into the NLCS, Cespedes has a career postseason batting average of .317 in 15 games, with an .883 OPS.

"That's really important to me, because every time I step on the field, I give my best to do my part and help my team win," Cespedes said.

Cespedes hit 17 home runs with a .942 OPS in 57 regular-season games for the Mets in August and September and October. His impact on New York's offensive attack was undeniable -- the team scored the most runs in the National League after the All-Star break, after scoring the second fewest in the season's first half.

"That's really incredible to me. I don't know if it's me, but when I got to Oakland they said the same thing," Cespedes said. "I always try to do the best I can on the field. That's in my blood."

What has Cespedes most optimistic about the Mets' chances this postseason is their young starting pitching, led by Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

"I wouldn't want to play against this team, because of the pitching it has," he said. "I've only played with this team a couple months, but I think if we keep doing what we're doing, were going to be a World Series team.

"I think this series is going to be interesting. [The Cubs] are really playing well right now, like us. The play on the field will have the last word. Each one of us is going to go out and play our best, and the better team will come out on top."

David Venn is the executive editor of MLB.com's Spanish-language site, LasMayores.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.