World Series 2015: Mets’ fireballers go up in smoke against red-hot Royals hitters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. It took five hours and nine minutes to play Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, an edge-of-your-seat, 14-inning thriller that was zany from the start and featured an inside-the-park homer, a game-tying dinger in the ninth inning and a walkoff sacrifice fly.It took two hours and 54 minutes to play Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, a pitcher's duel for a while that got broken open in the middle and was never in doubt after that.MORE: World Series in photos | Young, Volquez slated to start Games 4, 5 for KC The two games could hardly have been more different, but there was a central theme to both: the Mets' young, hard-throwing starting pitchers seeing the Royals get the best of them.Matt Harvey let a two-run lead get away in the sixth inning of Game 1, and 24 hours later, there was Jacob deGrom, seeing a one-run lead turn into a four-run deficit in a flash as the Royals went on to roll to a 7-1 victory and a 2-0 series lead.I https://www.yankeesedges.com/new-york-yankees/don-mattingly-jersey felt like my stuff was good, deGrom said. I just wasn't locating very well.In five innings, deGrom gave up four runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. In his previous three postseason starts, the right-hander had struck out 27 and walked five. Wednesday was the first time that deGrom had more walks than strikeouts since May 26, 2014 his third major league start.Harvey had a similar i sue, as he struck out only two while walking two in Game 1. He had not had a start with as many walks as strikeouts since July 20 in Washington, when he i sued four free pa ses and fanned only three in a 7-2 lo s.The Royals are a contact-hitting team, having struck out only 973 times this year, the only team under 1,100 whiffs, let alone 1,000. Still, that's an average of six strikeouts a game, and in 11 innings against Kansas City, Harvey and deGrom who tallied a total of 440 strikeouts in 424 innings through the regular season and first two rounds of playoffs combined for just four.We knew that going into the game, I think we've said it before, that they don't swing and mi s, deGrom said. They put the ball in play, and they did a good job of doing that tonight.It was said before the series that the Royals were a good fastball-hitting team, but so were the Cubs, the team the Mets swept in the NLCS. The difference might be as simple as the fact that the Cubs struck out the most of any team in the majors, while the Royals struck out the least, and putting the ball in play gives Kansas City a better chance to succeed. It could also be that the Mets' young flamethrowers are running out of gas in late October. It could also be that the long layoff between the NLCS and the World Series Harvey was on nine days' rest, deGrom was on seven took the pitchers out of their routine somewhat, leading to problems with pitch location and sharpne s.Any https://www.yankeesedges.com/new-york-yankees/luis-severino-jersey of those i sues would be lousy news for Noah Syndergaard, the career-high 192.2 innings the 23-year-old has thrown this year and the 11 days' rest he'll be on for Game 3 on Friday night in New York. There is another po sibility, and that is the approach the Mets have taken with the Kansas City lineup.MORE: Five takeaways from Game 2I told Jake, not everything has to be a strike, Mets manager Terry Collins said. You've got to move it around. You've got to change speeds, give them something to look at. If you continue to pound the strike zone, they're going to put it in play, and that's what they did.It was telling that the hit that gave Kansas City the lead, Eric Hosmer's two-run single in the four-run fifth inning, came on a slider immediately after deGrom had thrown a slider to induce one of the three swinging strikes he got all night. Also telling was that even though deGrom and Harvey failed to rack up big strikeout totals, https://www.yankeesedges.com/new-york-yankees/babe-ruth-jersey their percentages of strikes thrown were the highest for each in the playoffs.The Royals had the fourth-lowest percentage of swinging strikes in the majors this season, but the sixth-highest rate of swings at pitches outside the strike zone, according to Fangraphs. Kansas City had the second-highest rate of contact on swings outside the zone, too, and that is the kind of contact New York should want to induce. Pounding the zone, as Collins said, leads to trouble.Does that mean the Mets might go with a different plan of attack when Syndergaard takes the mound?You'll find out, was all that catcher Travis d'Arnaud would say, a sneaky smile cracking the corners of his mouth at an otherwise grim time for a team that goes home knowing that no team in 19 years has surmounted a 2-0 deficit in the World Series. | m² |

 

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