Home means hope for Mets despite 0-2 hole
Royals in control, but plenty of precedent for a comeback
Johnny Cueto pitched the Royals to a 7-1 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead over the Mets in the World Series on Wednesday night. Now, as you'd expect, most of the numbers favor Kansas City to take home its first World Series since 1985.
In baseball history, teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have won that series 83.3 percent of the time (65-for-78). No team has come back from an 0-2 deficit in the World Series since the 1996 Yankees rallied to beat the Braves.
The Mets, however, should get a significant boost when they return home to what figures to be a raucous Citi Field for Game 3 on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. game time). Of the 13 teams to rally from an 0-2 deficit, 10 have done so after dropping Games 1 and 2 on the road, like the Mets. The last such comeback -- Boston's American League Championship Series win over the Yankees in 2004 -- occurred when the Red Sox lost the first two games in the Bronx.
"You've got to win four," said Mets Game 2 starter Jacob deGrom. "We're going home, we play well at home, and we'll hopefully win those three there."
The Mets, of course, can also draw upon their own history for motivation. In 1986, they dropped the first two games of the Fall Classic to the Red Sox, only to rally for their most recent World Series title.
One year earlier, the Royals accomplished the same feat twice, rallying from 0-2 down to defeat the Cardinals in the World Series, after coming back from the same deficit to beat the Blue Jays in the ALCS.
The Royals have never been on the wrong end of such a comeback, however. They've jumped out to a 2-0 edge four times (twice in a best-of-seven series), and they won all four -- most recently their six-game victory over Toronto in the ALCS.
It figures to be an uphill climb for New York. Since 1996, nine teams have fallen behind 0-2 in the Fall Classic. Only the 2001 Yankees even managed to force a Game 6. (They would go on to lose in seven.) In World Series play exclusively, 11 of 53 clubs have rallied from an 0-2 deficit (about 21 percent).
"The Series is far from over," said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. "There's still a lot of work yet to do. Last year we took a 2-1 lead in San Francisco and were feeling pretty good about ourselves, and we had a three-run lead in the next game.
"You have to realize as a team, as an offense, you've got to keep your foot on the gas and keep pushing. Because that team, with that staff, they have the ability to rail off a couple of good outings in a row, and their offense has the ability to get hot."