Kansas City Royals @New York Mets
Friday, October 30
5:07 pm PT on FOX
Kansas City Royals (2-0) @New York Mets (0-2)
The Mets finally got on the board in the top of the fourth. Curtis Granderson led of with a walk. After a foul pop to first base, Daniel Murphy walked. Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Murphy at second. Needing a clutch two-out hit, Lucas Duda singled to shallow left center to drive in the first run of the game.
After that little uprising, Johnny Cueto had had enough. He retired the next 14 Mets before giving up a two-out walk in the ninth, then got Cespedes to fly out for the complete game victory. It was the first complete game by an American League pitcher since the epic Jack Morris game in the 1991 World Series.
Meanwhile, the Royals scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the bottom of the eighth to win easily, 7-1. There were a few Royals’ hitters who drove the offense in Game Two, including Alex Gordon, still hitting eighth, who was 1 for 2 with two walks, two runs scored, and an RBI. He has a .500 on-base percentage through the first two games. At the top of the lineup, Alcides Escobar was 2 for 5 with a run and two RBI. Eric Hosmer was 2 for 4 with a run and two more RBI. Hosmer has four RBI so far this series.
Yordano Ventura vs. Noah Syndergaard
In today’s matchup, two young pitchers toe the rubber for their respective teams. Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura is a 25-year-old right-hander who is in his third season in the big leagues. He has a career 3.61 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, with a strikeout rate of 8.1 K/9. The Met’s hurler is Noah Syndergaard, also known as Thor because of his large 6’6”, 240 pound body and long, blonde locks. Syndergaard was a rookie this year and had 24 starts with a 3.24 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9. He has better stuff than Ventura, but less experience.
Ventura had a rough April. Not only did he have an ERA near 5.00 (4.94), he was also a participant or instigator of bench-clearing brawls in three straight starts. He’s a passionate pitcher who doesn’t shy away from throwing inside and likes to squabble verbally with opponents. On April 12th, he gave up a single to Mike Trout. When Trout came around to score, he and Ventura had words that led to the benches clearing. In his next start, he threw at Brett Lawrie, starting up a scuffle between the Royals and the Athletics. He was fined by MLB for hitting Lawrie, but avoided a suspension. Completing the trifecta, Ventura got into a verbal exchange with White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton at the end of the seventh inning in his next start. Once again, the benches and bullpens empties as players stood around looking angry at each other. Ventura was one of five players ejected from this game and he received a seven game suspension.
Ventura was originally signed by the Royals as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic as a 17-year-old in 2008. Ventura had a quick and successful rise through the Royals’ minor league system and made it to the show as a 22-year-old in 2013. At 5’11” and 180 pounds, he does not have the size of most major league starting pitchers, who average a little more than 6’2” in height. Despite his small size, Ventura had the third-highest average fastball velocity of any starting pitcher in baseball with more than 100 innings pitched in 2015, averaging 96.3 mph on his heater.
Syndergaard is an avid weightlifter who can squat 455 pounds and deadlift 512 pounds. He got the nickname “Thor” after sharing a photo of himself weight training while dressed as the superhero. Unfortunately, MLB rules prevent him from wearing the costume while pitching in a game.
The Mets are used to not having a DH in their lineup, so there aren’t any big changes there. They are going with Yoenis Cespedes in center field and Michael Conforto in left, which was the configuration that led to an inside-the-park home run by Alcides Escobar in Game One on a ball that should have been caught by Cespedes.
This is as close to a must-win game for the Mets as can be. No team in Major League history has come back after being down three games to none in a World Series.