5 storylines for Game 3 of the World Series
Mets aim to rebound from 2-0 deficit as Fall Classic shifts to Queens
1. Late-night show
The Royals' bullpen is at the top of the list in terms of respect. The general feeling is that Kansas City plays only a six-inning game, because once the seventh inning rolls around, its relievers are in control. The bullpen has met expectations this postseason, but there's more to the Royals than their relievers.
The Royals take a 2-0 World Series advantage into Friday night's game (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. game time) at Citi Field, and while the bullpen has done its job, don't overlook their late-inning offensive production.
With a pitching staff that allowed a Major League-low 174 runs in the seventh inning or later during the regular season, Kansas City has allowed 11 runs in the seventh inning or later in its 13 postseason games.
That becomes an even larger factor in light of the offensive success. The Royals have scored 41 runs in the seventh inning or later, 30 more than the Mets, who rank No. 2 among the 10 teams that took part in the postseason.
And it hasn't been a one-man show. Ben Zobrist (.474), Alex Rios (.455) and Alcides Escobar (.464) rank first, second and third in batting average among players with 10 or more postseason at-bats in the seventh inning or later. Salvador Perez (.278) and Mike Moustakas (.238) are the only Royals regulars hitting below .313.
Eric Hosmer leads hitters with postseason RBIs after the sixth inning at nine, and teammate Kendrys Morales is second with eight. Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista had seven RBIs, and Royals Lorenzo Cain, Escobar and Alex Gordon are tied for fourth with five RBIs apiece in the seventh inning or later.
After being two-hit by Johnny Cueto in Game 2, history is on the side of the Mets in avoiding that distinction again this World Series. There have been only 29 games in World Series history in which one team allowed two or fewer hits, and only twice has a team had two such games in the same World Series.
Atlanta two-hit Cleveland in Game 1 in 1995 and one-hit the Indians in Game 6. The Cubs two-hit and one-hit the White Sox in 1906. In between the Cubs' pitching gems, the White Sox two-hit the Cubs.
Cueto also started a Royals two-hitter of the Astros en route to a Game 5 victory in the best-of-five American League Division Series. It was one of 63 postseason games in which a team was limited to two or fewer hits.
3. Rally time
Eleven teams have rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win the World Series, including six since the introduction of a multiround postseason in 1969. The Yankees were the most recent, when they beat the Braves in 1996.
The Royals came back from an 0-2 series deficit twice in 1985, rallying from losses in Games 1 and 2 to eliminate the Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series, and then beating the Cardinals for the World Series championship. And the next year, the Mets did the rallying in the World Series by defeating the Red Sox after losing the first two games.
The Mets are hoping that right-hander Noah Syndergaard can help them make a U-turn. Syndergaard gets the start at Citi Field, where New York is 3-1 this postseason. He is 0-2 with a 5.86 ERA in his five career starts against AL teams.
4. Road hopes
The Royals are two victories shy of the second World Series championship in franchise history, but the road has been a different challenge for them. They are 2-3 away from Kauffman Stadium this postseason. However, they were 5-2 on the road in last year's and were 4-3 in 1985.
5. Just visiting
These will be the first postseason games the Royals will play at the Mets' home ballpark. They do, however, have postseason experience in New York, losing in the ALCS to the Yankees in 1976, '77 and '78. However, Kansas City won the only game at Yankee Stadium in the 1980 ALCS, a 3-0 sweep.