Down two games to one in the 2015 World Series, all is not lost for the New York Mets, but we’re getting close. Giving up Game 3 to the Royals would equal near-certain elimination for Terry Collins’s club, so the only chance is for revival for the home team at Citi Field.
A repeat of the mistakes in the opening games must be avoided at all costs, but it will take more than that. Every advantage the Mets boasted — including an unconscious Daniel Murphy and unhittable Jeurys Familia — was calmly swept aside by the Royals as they took both games in Kansas City.
With the scene shifted back to Flushing, we need to see the Mets team that dominated the Cubs report for duty in the following games. Here are three keys to an Amazin’ Series comeback.
1. A shutdown start
Game 3 starter Noah Syndergaard doesn’t have to pitch a shutout for the Mets, but it would be nice if he can lock down the Royals long enough for hitters to give him a lead. New York needs every advantage it can get from its hometown crowd, and getting sunk in a hole early could take fans out of the game. Syndergaard has the type of stuff that can befuddle any lineup, including this relentless one. It comes down to execution in the highest-pressure situation possible. He’ll have to show poise well beyond his big-league experience (3.24 ERA in 24 starts) to get the Mets back to 2-1.
2. Middle-of-the-order production
The meat of the Mets lineup starts with David Wright in the two-hole and concludes with Yoenis Cespedes in the cleanup spot. In Games 1 and 2, these three combined to hit 5-for-30 (all singles) with two walks thrown in by Murphy. That’s a batting average .166 and an OBP of .233 with 0 RBI and 9 SO. In no circumstances will that line get the job done. We’re aware Murphy could not continue his Ruthian assault on pitching in the World Series, but this trio needs to produce if the Mets hope to get back to Kansas City. Cespedes fueled the Mets’ offensive surge late in the year, and the club needs to feel his impact immediately.
3. Championship defense
In Game 1, Cespedes booted a ball in center field that became an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch Matt Harvey threw. Later on, the winning run made it to first base on an error by Wright in the 14th inning. This Mets team that took advantage of several Cubs errors in the NLCS is now coughing up crucial runs in the field in the World Series. These Royals score enough without help from the opposition. If the Mets want to play on, they will have to play championship defense at Citi Field.
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