Thursday, October 29, 2015

World Series Game Two

Through much of the season, Johnny Cueto -- longtime ace of the Cincinnati Reds -- was his usual brilliant self.  After 19 starts, he had a record of 7-6 and an E.R.A. of 2.62.  He had 120 strikeouts and only 29 walks.  In short, he was the ideal late-season pickup for a Royals team looking to bolster its starting pitching for the playoffs.  But Cueto struggled in Kansas City -- in 13 starts, he was 4-7 with a 4.76 E.R.A.  In his last start, in the A.L.C.S., the Blue Jays hammered him for 8 runs in only 2 innings.

So Cueto entered Game Two as a bit of a mystery figure.  But once he faced National League opposition, he reverted back to ace form.  Cueto completely dominated the Mets last night, pitching a complete game that allowed the Royals' bullpen to recover from the 14-inning struggle of Game One.  Even better, he gave up only one run on two hits.  Meanwhile, the canny Royals were taking the measure of Jacob deGrom.  In his second year in the majors, deGrom pitched really well -- 14-8 with an E.R.A. of 2.54.  In the playoffs, he went 2-0 against the Dodgers and 1-0 against the Cubs -- allowing only 4 runs in 20 innings.  But as the Mets' pitchers are learning, the Royals are not the Dodgers and the Cubs.  After four quiet innings, and the Mets leading 1-0, here's what Kansas City did in the fifth:

1.  Alex Gordon walks
2.  Alex Rios singles to left (runners on first and second, no out)
3.  Alcides Escobar singles to center, Gordon scores (runners on first and second, no out)
4.  Ben Zobrist grounds out to first (runners on second and third, one out)
5.  Lorenzo Cain lines out to center (runners on second and third, two out)
6.  Eric Hosmer singles to center, Rios and Escobar score (runner on first, two out)
7.  Kendrys Morales singles to right (runners on first and third, two out)
8.  Mike Moustakas singles to right, Hosmer scores (runners on first and third, two out)
9.  Salvador Perez grounds out to third (three outs)

That's nine plate appearances, one walk, five singles, and four runs. So long, thanks for playing.  I would like to think that the Nats and Dodgers would learn from this example that you can score without hitting home runs, but I know better.

After the big fifth inning, Kansas City rolled to an easy 7-1 victory.  The Royals now lead the Series 2 games to zero, and that heart-breaking loss by the Mets in Game One is looking bigger and bigger.  The Mets are going home to Queens, and they better figure out what to do pretty quickly.

World Series:
Kansas City leads New York 2-0


  1. It's weird to me how there is simply no room, in some of the modern baseball minds, for playing the game any other way than trying to get walks and home runs.

    1. It's weird to me, too. I bet it's weird to Bill James. Especially when the recent winners of the World Series look like this:

      2010: Giants
      2011: Cardinals
      2012: Giants
      2013: Red Sox
      2014: Giants
      2015; Royals v. Mets

      The Red Sox are basically the only 3-run homer team on that list.