World Series Game 2
New York Mets at Kansas City Royals | 8:07 p.m. ET (FOX)
Pitching Matchup: Jacob deGrom vs Johnny Cueto
Money-Line: Mets -125, Royals +115
Run-Line: Mets -1.5 +130, Royals +1.5 -150
Updated Series Odds: Mets +150, Royals -180
After an absolute instant classic in Game 1 last night that featured virtually everything you can think of, what can possibly happen this evening in Game 2 for an encore? There are no words that can properly do the series opener justice, which ended up being one of the longest and most thrilling games in World Series history, chock full of numerous remarkable moments that will forever be remembered, so it should be incredibly intriguing to see how tonight’s second contest unfolds from The K before the series shifts to Citi Field for the next three games beginning Friday.
Fortunately for the Mets, they’ll have arguably their best pitcher on the hill seeking to salvage a split in the first two games, Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA), who has been absolutely terrific throughout this postseason. In fact, all three playoff assignments for last year’s NL Rookie of the Year have registered as quality ones, with none no bigger than a couple of weeks ago when deGrom was able to outduel NL Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke in Game 5 of the NLDS, en route to moving on past the Dodgers.
In total, the 27-year-old “deGrominator” has recorded 20 total innings in the playoffs, yielding just four runs on 15 hits, while compiling an outstanding 27/5 K/BB ratio, spearheaded by his 13-strikeout effort in Game 1 of the NLDS that tied a franchise postseason record. Perhaps most impressive of all, deGrom’s three playoff starts have all come on the road, where the right-hander had an ERA of more than a full run higher during the regular season compared to his work at home. It’s interesting to note that the under hit in all three of his outings, as the Mets went 3-0 in those games as well.
While the Mets did not oppose the Royals at all during the regular season, they did face Kansas City’s Game 2 starter approximately four months ago. That would be former Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA), whom the club acquired just prior to the trade deadline. While Cueto, last year’s NL Cy Young runner-up, has experienced mostly up-and-down results since arriving in KC, he was very steady on July 26 opposite New York. Despite taking the loss, Cueto was very good in six innings on that night, scattering only two hits, a few walks, and striking six, while surrendering just a couple of runs.
Although his numbers since joining the Royals have left a lot to be desired, the trend is that he has been better overall at home, which is exactly where he finds himself tonight. In fact, Cueto’s ERA at home this year (2.96) in 14 starts was significantly better than it was in his 18 outings on the road (3.80). Additionally, Cueto also possessed a lower strikeout rate, higher opposing batting average, and higher WHIP in his assignments away from home.
Johnny Beisbol has made three starts this postseason, yielding mixed results as well. He had his best performance in the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS against the Astros, when he fired eight brilliant innings of two-run ball, limiting Houston to just two hits and striking out eight, en route to claiming that series. In his other two starts, however, Cueto was not as successful, especially in his most recent outing last Monday when the Blue Jays drilled him for eight runs on six hits and four walks in only two innings of work at Rogers Centre. Fortunately for Kansas City, Cueto will be working from the comforts of home tonight at Kauffman Stadium. It’s also worth pointing out that the over hit in all three of Cueto’s postseason starts thus far, while KC won two of the three.
One of the Mets’ main strengths, closer Jeurys Familia, who had converted 21 consecutive saves — including five in this postseason — came apart last night in coughing up the lead in the ninth inning for his first blown save since the very end of July. Alex Gordon miraculously tied the game with a solo home run off him with one out, triggering extra innings and helping contribute what turned out to be an instant classic affair.
Also of note, the red-hot Daniel Murphy failed to homer for the first time after doing so in the previous six playoff games, which is a Major League postseason record. In last night’s contest, he went 2-for-7 with a pair of singles. Murphy is 3-for-17 in his career versus Cueto, however.