5 storylines for Game 5 of the World Series
1. Cold shoulder
The late Sparky Anderson had a theory that in a postseason series, a key to success was making sure not to let the other team's hottest hitter get a chance to impact the game.
The Royals seem to understand that. One common thread this postseason has been their ability to cool off whoever was hot on the opposing team.
Ask the Mets, who have lost three of the first four games of the World Series. Daniel Murphy was on a record-setting pace in the National League Division Series and the NL Championship Series, hitting .421 against the Dodgers and Cubs, with seven home runs and 11 RBIs. He entered the World Series one home run shy of the postseason record shared by Carlos Beltran, Barry Bonds and Nelson Cruz.
Four games into the World Series, Murphy is still one home run shy of that record. He is 3-for-17 against Kansas City, without an RBI.
In the American League Division Series against the Astros, the Royals held Jose Altuve, who led Houston with a .313 regular-season batting average, to a .136 average and just two runs scored over five games. Evan Gattis, who had 27 home runs and 88 RBIs in the regular season, did not hit a home run and drove in only one run.
And in the ALCS, Chris Colabello, who hit .375 against Texas in the ALDS for Toronto, was limited to a .217 average by Kansas City's pitchers.
2. The rest of the story
Matt Harvey is being asked to help the Mets stay alive in the World Series. He has the starting assignment in a win-or-go-home Game 5 at Citi Field.
Much is being made about the fact Harvey is working on a normal four days of rest instead of nine days, which was the case for Game 1 of the World Series. He allowed three runs in six innings that night, but had a no-decision in the Mets' 4-3 loss.
The history -- which is only 65 regular-season starts -- doesn't point to a markedly better Harvey when he works on normal rest instead of extended rest. His numbers, in fact, are slightly worse.
In 29 career regular-season starts on four days' rest, Harvey is 10-7 with a 3.08 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a 9.5 strikeouts-per-nine ratio, according to Baseball-Reference.com. In 21 regular-season starts on five days of rest, he is 9-6 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a 8.1 K/9 ratio. And in 15 starts on six or more days of rest, Harvey is only 6-5, but he has a 1.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9 ratio.
3. Rested, ready?
Royals closer Wade Davis worked the final two innings of the team's come-from-behind 5-3 victory against the Mets at Citi Field on Saturday. Kansas City is convinced he can still come in and close out a victory tonight.
Davis has worked on back-to-back days 32 times in the past two seasons, and he has allowed a .172 opponents' batting average. Batters hit .146 against him in 2015 in the 14 games in which he pitched the day after an appearance, and .212 in 18 games in '14.
The multi-inning aspect of Saturday's appearance is a different story. Davis has worked two innings only five times in his three years with the Royals, never when pitching on back-to-back days.
4. Five of a kind
A World Series has been decided in five games 24 times, most recently in 2010 when the Giants defeated the Rangers. In 15 of those 24 series, the road team has won Game 5. However, since the start of divisional play in 1969, the winner of a five-game World Series has closed out the Series with a victory at home.
5. Feeling at home
Harvey has won his two home postseason starts. He has a 2.84 ERA in those two games and has averaged 11.37 strikeouts per nine innings..
Royals Game 5 starter Edinson Volquez, meanwhile, is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA on the road this postseason, and 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA in three career road starts in the postseason.