It doesn’t feel good, does it, Mets? Down 2-0, the most recent of which wound up not particularly close? Going home and knowing that you’ve pretty much got to win three in a row to really, seriously take this thing to the end?
- The Royals won again last night, beating the Mets 7-1 behind a hit parade that saw them notch 10 hits to the Mets’ 2. Moreover, it seemed like every Royals hit was perfectly placed and timed, which was clearly a sign that the Mets’ BABIP luck has run out (partial sarcasm, partial bitterness). As predicted, it was impossible to live up to the excitement of Game One, but this one was intriguing until the 8th, when the Royals blew it open.
- Johnny Cueto went the distance for the Royals, allowing just those two hits and three walks. He struck out only four, but, as he often does, he had the Mets’ hitters off balance all night, and didn’t really yield much hard contact. I suspect that’s long been part of the story with Cueto, whose ERA is almost always lower than his FIP and xFIP (remember, the latter two assume all balls in play are equal, which, if you are peculiarly good at inducing weak contact, might not be the case).
- Cueto, who is at the tail end of a very long season and who has a history of arm issues, threw 122 pitches, coming out for the 9th inning even after the Royals had increased their lead to six runs. I understand preserving the pen, but not sure I agree with that one. Moreover, manager Ned Yost said it was because of those extra runs the Royals scored in the 8th that he went with Cueto for the 9th. I get not going to your top bullpen arms in a six-run game, but that’s not a reason to tax your starter further; it’s a reason to just go with a different reliever. But, hey, Cueto’s a free agent that the Royals aren’t going to re-sign either way, so what do they care?
- The Mets scored their one run in the fourth, temporarily holding a lead, but then not scoring again the rest of the way.
- The Royals’ high-contact style is going to get a lot of attention this offseason, particularly as contrasted with, for one example, a high-strikeout team like the Cubs. But I’ll tell you in advance, a lot of the discussion will completely miss the point: of course you’d rather have high-contact guys if they *also happen to be good hitters like the Royals.* But, for a lot of power hitters who work deep counts – many of whom are awesome overall offensive players – you’re going to see a lot of strikeouts. Not everyone can be a high-contact, high-power, high-discipline guy. You have to evaluate the total player package, and it’s not as simple as sloughing off a high strikeout guy (Kris Bryant?) in favor of a high contact guy (Alcides Escobar?).
- The series shifts to New York for Game Three on Friday night, with Noah Syndergaard hosting Yordano Ventura. That’s a fun match-up of young fireballers right there.