Mets can learn from Series' comeback history
Six teams since 1969 have rallied for title from 2-0 deficit
Despite the odds being stacked against the Mets heading into Game 3 on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. ET game time), a World Series comeback would be far from unprecedented.
In fact, 11 teams have rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win the World Series, including six since the introduction of a multi-round postseason in 1969. Though there isn't one clear blueprint for the Mets to follow against the Royals, there are bits of inspiration or advice that New York could take from every one of those six clubs.
Here's a closer look at how those six teams managed to overcome an inauspicious start, as well as what the Mets might be able to take from each one.
The Pirates not only lost the first two games of the World Series to the Orioles, but they did so by a combined score of 16-6. Yet after allowing an average of eight runs per game over the first two, the Pirates would allow only eight runs total over the final five games of the Series. Pittsburgh's comeback started with a 5-1 win in Game 3 followed by a 4-3 triumph in Game 4, in which the Pirates outhit the O's, 14-4. The Pirates then notched a shutout in Game 5 before returning to Baltimore, where they lost, 3-2, in Game 6 then clinched the championship by winning a 2-1 pitchers' duel in Game 7.
Lesson for the Mets: Pitching, easily the Mets' biggest strength this year, can single-handedly key a comeback.
The World Series returned to the Bronx for Game 3 after the Yankees were routed by the Dodgers in Game 1 and endured a tough one-run loss in Game 2. It turned out that playing in front of their hometown fans was all they needed. The Yankees rattled off three straight wins in New York, capped by a resounding 12-2 victory. Fresh off the Game 5 rout, the Yankees went back to Los Angeles and wrapped up the Series with a 7-2 Game 6 victory.
Lesson for the Mets: Dominate the three games in New York to take a Series lead back to Kansas City.
Like the 2015 Mets, the '81 Dodgers returned home after dropping the first two Series games on the road. Making matters worse, the Dodgers also proceeded to fall behind the Yankees, 4-3, in Game 3 before rallying to win, 5-4. The Dodgers also fell into an early 4-0 hole in Game 4 -- and trailed, 6-3, as late as the sixth inning -- but again rallied to win, 8-7. It was more of the same in Game 5; the Dodgers trailed, 1-0, from the second inning until the bottom of the seventh, when they scored their only runs in a 2-1 victory. The Yankees also scored first in Game 6 before the Dodgers ran away with a 9-2, championship-clinching win.
Lesson for the Mets: Scoring first might be ideal, but each game isn't over until the final out.
Though the '85 Royals held home-field advantage in the World Series, they found themselves in the opposite scenario from the one facing this year's Royals. That '85 team, the last one to win a World Series for the franchise, dropped each of the first two games in Kansas City before three games in St. Louis. The Royals improved their outlook slightly with a Game 3 victory, but quickly found themselves back on the ropes following a 3-0 loss in Game 4. That said, neither the 2-0 deficit nor the 3-1 deficit was enough to keep the Royals from winning the first title in franchise history. They won Game 5 in St. Louis to send the Series back to Kansas City, where the Royals won the final two games to complete the comeback.
Lesson for the Mets: Not only is overcoming a 2-0 Series deficit possible, but so is 3-1, if it comes to that.
The '86 Mets dropped a one-run heartbreaker in Game 1 to the Red Sox before suffering a six-run loss in Game 2. Sound familiar? Those are the exact same margins of defeat for this year's Mets team through two games. Unlike this year, however, those losses came in the comforts of home before the team hit the road for three games in Boston. The Mets sent an immediate message in Game 3 that the Series was far from over. They raced out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, then coasted to a 7-1 victory. It was more of the same in Game 4, as they cruised to a 6-2 victory to even the Series. The Mets lost Game 5 before returning to New York, where Bill Buckner would forever become a household name thanks to an error that handed the Mets a Game 6 victory. The Mets then closed it out in Game 7.
Lesson for the Mets: Set the tone early in Game 3.
The Yankees looked listless in the Series' first two games against the Braves in the Bronx, losing the opener, 12-1, before enduring a 4-0 shutout in Game 2. There wasn't much rhyme or reason to their success thereafter, but they somehow managed to string together four straight victories to win the title. They bounced back with a 5-2 victory in Game 3, then rallied for an 8-6 win in Game 4, despite getting only two innings from starter Kenny Rogers, who allowed five runs off five hits and two walks. The Yanks then survived a 1-0 pitchers' duel in Game 5 before winning another one-run contest in Game 6. The only common denominator was closer John Wetteland, who took home World Series MVP honors after locking down the save in all four Yankees wins.
Lesson for the Mets: It doesn't have to be pretty, just get the ball to the closer.