The Mets are down two games to none in the World Series. This is not ideal. Johnny Cueto had generally been awful for the Royals since the middle of August. Jacob deGrom is Jacob deGrom. But Cueto pitched a complete game, allowing just one run, while deGrom gave up four runs in five innings.
As an opponent, the Royals are an incredibly annoying team. Built up for their ability to make contact and avoid strikeouts coming into the World Series, they could not be playing into the narrative any better through the first two games of the series. Hearing that the Royals "don’t stop" or "just keeping coming" has already gotten old.
Believe it or not, the Mets scored first in the game, on a single by Lucas Duda in the fourth inning, before giving up seven runs. They had drawn a couple of walks in the inning and had Cueto on the ropes. The inning almost died when Yoenis Cesepdes hit a ground ball to third base, but first baseman Eric Hosmer came off the bag catching the throw from Mike Moustakas, who had stepped on third base for the second out of the inning. But Duda’s single, which advanced Cespedes to third, preceded a fly out by Travis d’Arnaud, ending the Mets’ best threat of the night.
deGrom pitched a scoreless fourth inning, and Cueto matched him in the fifth. The game turned in the bottom of that inning, though. Walk, single, single. Tie game. A Ben Zobrist ground out moved the runners to second and third, and Lorenzo Cain lined out shallow center field, preventing the runner on third from tagging up. But Eric Hosmer singled to plate both baserunners. Kendrys Morales singled to put runners on the corners. And Mike Moustakas singled to score Hosmer with the Royals’ fourth run of the night. deGrom finally got out of the inning with a ground out from Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, but it was already too late for the Mets.
Cueto rarely encountered trouble against the Mets’ lineup the rest of the way, looking a lot more like Johnny Cueto than he had in most of his Royals starts. On top of this one, his performance against the Astros in Game 5 of the ALDS was a gem.
The Mets’ bullpen didn’t end up helping matters, either. Hansel Robles threw a scoreless sixth inning, hitting 98 regularly on the gun with his fastball. Jon Niese threw a scoreless seventh, but he gave up a single and two doubles in the eighth, prompting Terry Collins to turn to Addison Reed with the game then at 5-1. Reed allowed a sacrifice fly and served up a triple, and the Royals were up 7-1. Sean Gilmartin took over from there and got the last two outs of the inning, which did not matter.
Game 3 is set for Friday night at Citi Field. Noah Syndergaard gets the start for the Mets opposite Yordano Ventura of the Royals in the first of two must-win games.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Lucas Duda, +15.6% WPA
Big losers: Jacob deGrom, -27.5% WPA, Travis d’Arnaud, -10.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda singles in a go-ahead run in the fourth, +14.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Eric Hosmer hits go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth, -23.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -27.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -22.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Eric Hosmer