Riding a terrific performance from Johnny Cueto, the Kansas City Royals take a 2-0 lead in the World Series over the New York Mets, winning 7-1 in game 2.
Cueto has been inconsistent this season and in the playoffs, but didn’t need anyone taking him off the mound as he put in a complete game with only two hits allowed and three walks while striking out four. He allowed the fewest hits in a World Series complete game by an AL pitcher since Boston’s Jim Lonborg’s one-hitter against St. Louis in 1967. It was the first complete game by an AL pitcher in the World Series since Minnesota’s Jack Morris in 1991, winning game 7 against the Braves.
Lucas Duda was the only one getting hits for the Mets, both of them soft singles, one of them turning out to be an RBI that allowed Ryan Murphy to score. The Mets actually were the first to score in the fourth inning, but turns out the Mets’ starting pitching has its cracks and Jacob deGrom fell apart in the fifth inning, as the Royals scored four runs on him through Alcides Escobar, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. In the 8th inning came another surge, with Alex Gordon, Paulo Orlando and Escobar again scoring off of Jonathon Niese.
There’s still a lot of work yet to do. Last year we took a 2-1 lead in San Francisco and were feeling pretty good about ourselves. I don’t want it coming back here. I want to finish it there.
The Royals haven’t been up by two games in the World Series since 1985, when they won it all. Out of the 51 teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in best-of-seven World Series, 41 have gone on to win the title including nine straight since Atlanta stumbled against the New York Yankees in 1996.
The Mets are struggling with the Royals hitting, which was expected. It’s a team that doesn’t necessarily bomb you to smithereens with home runs, but they force the pitcher to extend his stay on the mound, while not trying to do anything too complicated. They don’t go for swings and misses, and they punish every mistake a pitcher makes against them.
On the other end, Cueto showed that at least when playing at home, he’s still a fantastic pitcher. His problems have come on the road, where it seems fans taunting him by singing his voice gets to him. He had a very good game 5 in the ALDS to help bring the Royals here, and the team made the proper rotation changes so he’ll also pitch game 6, if it’s necessary, in the World Series, in front of the home fans.
That’s what they brought me here for, was to help win a World Series. So that’s what I’m trying to do. Cueto is a free agent at the end of the season, and there have already been talks about the Royals not picking him up again due to his inconsistency. But a great World Series might renew their interest, and help drive up his price.