The Kansas City Royals and New York Mets matchup is underway and Pete Hodges and Rick Rowand have our 2015 World Series Game 3 preview for tonight’s game.
Game 1: Kansas City won 5-4
Game 2: Kansas City won 7-1
Game 3: Royals @ Mets 8 PM Friday 10/30
Game 4: Royals @ Mets 8 PM Saturday 10/31
Game 5: Royals @ Mets 8 PM Sunday 11/1*
Game 6: Mets @ Royals 8 PM Tuesday 11/3*
Game 7: Mets @ Royals 8 PM Wednesday 11/4*
All times are Eastern
Game 2 Recap
Going into Game 2, the biggest question seemed to be which Johnny Cueto would be showing up. Would it be the Cueto that only allowed two earned runs over eight innings against Houston in the ALDS or would it be the Cueto that allowed eight earned runs in just two innings against Toronto in the ALCS?
Everyone seemed sure that Jacob deGrom would be his usual self and that the Royals would have trouble scoring runs in the game. Until they faced the depleted bullpen that is.
Cueto answered quickly, getting through the first three innings allowing only a weak infield single by Lucas Duda in the second. He was then erased by a DP to end the inning.
Cueto was mixing up his delivery times and hitting the low target that Salvador Perez was giving him. And the ump was giving the the pitchers the low strike, and much to the consternation of David Murphy, was also calling the high strike.
As expected, deGrom matched him pitch for pitch, facing the minimum through the first three innings.
Things changed in the fourth for Cueto. He walked Curtis Granderson and after a David Wright pop foul to first, also walked Murphy. Yoenis Cespedes grounded to third. Moustakas got the force out on Granderson, but his throw to Hosmer at first pulled him off the bag. Duda then hit a bloop single to left, scoring Murphy, who had advanced to third on the throw. 1-0 Mets and it looked like with the way deGrom was pitching, that might just be enough for the win.
Then Duda committed an error on a grounder in the hole that was hit too far to his right allowing Ben Zobrist to reach first. Lorenzo Cain lined out to Duda and then Eric Hosmer singled to center, but Zobrist had to stop at second. He advanced to third and Hosmer to second on a Kendrys Morales ground out to first. deGrom then walked Moustakas to load the bases with two outs, but got out of the inning with a Perez ground out to Flores.
Cueto was perfect in the rainy fifth and it’s also when the sky fell on deGrom. Alex Gordon led off with a walk. Rios then singled to left, moving Gordon to second. He scored when Alcides Escobar singled to center. Runners at first and second. The runners moved up on a Zobrist ground out to first. Cain then hit a fly to center for the second out and the runners remained at second and third. It looked like deGrom would get out of the inning with just one run scoring.
deGrom then gave up a single to Hosmer, scoring both runs. Morales singled next, advancing Hosmer to third. He scored when Moustakas singled just to the right of the second base bag. Perez again ended the inning, this time with a ground out to third. 4-1 Royals.
There was some speculation after the inning that deGrom was somehow tipping his pitches from the stretch:
Ex-Met watching the game on TV texted me that he couldn’t figure out what, but Royals clearly had something on deGrom tipping in stretch.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 29, 2015
Another ex-Met told me deGrom may speed up on fastball and slow on secondary pitches. Or, seriously, facial expression may change by pitch. — Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 29, 2015
Cueto had another perfect inning, ending with Murphy striking out for the second time in the game. That made two strikeouts in both games against the Royals. He only struck out twice in a game three times all season.
Hansel Robles starts the sixth in relief of deGrom who left with a line of 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts.
Robles downed the Royals in order, thanks to a very good catch at the wall in left by Cespedes.
Cueto remained Cueto in the seventh. Jonathon Niese started the inning in relief of Robles and he downed the side in order.
Niese remained on the mound for the Mets, which in hindsight looks like a bad decision by Collins. Moustakas lead off with a grounder to right, this time under the glove of Duda. Perez followed with a double down the left field line moving Moustakas to third. Gordon hit a ball off of Flores’ glove into left that was ruled a hit. Moustakas scored and Perez moved to third.
Addison Reed relieved Niese and gave up a sac fly to left by Orlando. Perez scored and Gordon moved to third. Escobar then tripled over the head of Lagares scoring Gordon. This was his third triple of the postseason. Sean Gilmartin relieved Reed and finally ended the inning. 7-1 Royals.
Cueto came out for the ninth in a bid to be the first AL pitcher to have a complete game in the World Series since Jack Morris in 1991. To that point he’d thrown 107 pitches. His only blemish in the inning was a walk to Murphy. Cespedes ended the game with a fly out to right. Cueto’s line was 9 IP, 1 ER, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts.
The series moves to Queens with Noah Snydergaard facing Yordano Ventura in the first of three possible games at Citi Field. Of some relief to the Mets, they won’t be facing the same relentless batting order with the pitchers hitting. The Royals only had three swings and misses last night. That is amazing, especially against someone who throws like deGrom.
Game 3 Starters
Noah Syndergaard’s playoff debut was a decent showing, but not enough for a win in Game 2 of the NLDS. The rookie went 6 ⅓ innings allowing three runs on five hits and four walks. Syndergaard did flash some of the brilliance that makes him a top prospect as he struck out nine batters. Syndergaard then made a bullpen appearance in Game 5 of the NLDS, striking out two while walking one in a shutout inning. In his most recent start, the righty went 5 ⅔ innings giving up just one run in Game 2 of the NLCS.
In 24 regular season starts, the righty posted a 9-7 record with a 3.24 ERA, a 3.25 FIP and a 2.91 xFIP. He held batters to a .221 BAA, striking out 9.96 batters per nine innings, while only walking 1.86. Syndergaard relies on a four-seam fastball (37.98%), sinker (23.74%) and curve (20.24%). He also mixes in a changeup (14.21%) and a rare slider (3.84%). Syndergaard’s fastballs clock in around 98-mph while his curve registers at 81-mph.
Yordano Ventura has a 13-8 regular season record, with a 4.08 ERA, 3.57 FIP, and 3.50 xFIP in 28 starts in the regular season. He features a four-seam FB (37%), curve (24%), sinker (21%), change (15%), along with the occasional cutter. He’s a power pitcher, throwing both his FB and sinker at 96+mph.
His start in Game 1 of the ALDS is one he’d like to forget. He lasted just two innings, coughing up up four hits and three earned runs. In Game 4 he lasted five innings, giving up three earned runs and didn’t factor in the decision. Overall in the postseason he has started four games and has a 5.09 ERA with a .278 BBA in 17 ⅔ innings.