The Mets have lost the first two games of the World Series, and many of their fans are despondent. That is a rational response. The Royals are really, really good. Actually, we can call them great.
But here's a hopeful thought or two for Mets fans, as they anticipate the first World Series game in Citi Field's young history:
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The Royals might look like an old-fashioned National League team, with their contact-oriented lineup and athleticism on the bases, but they face the same challenge as other American League champions: They're about to lose their designated hitter.
Kendrys Morales is a quiet 1 for 7 in the Fall Classic, but he's more important to the Kansas City lineup now than Billy Butler was one year ago. Morales led Royals regulars with an .847 OPS and 106 RBI during the regular season. And he bats fifth, offering a crucial switch-hitting presence between the left-handed Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
Morales' consistency is especially noteworthy for a Royals lineup that hasn't changed once this postseason -- as in, not at all . Ned Yost has used the same nine position players, in the same batting order, at the same positions, in all 13 postseason games. That's a major-league record, according to STATS LLC.
Well, now Yost needs to change. The rules say he must. He could simply slot Moustakas into the No. 5 spot, behind Hosmer. Moustakas, after all, batted fifth on three occasions during the final week of the regular season.
But for a team playing as harmoniously as the Royals, even the slightest disruption is unwelcome. AL teams have found the adjustment to NL ballparks especially problematic in recent World Series, with an 8-17 record since 2006 -- including the Royals' 1-2 mark in San Francisco last year.
So there it is, Mets fans -- a little positivity for you, before rookies Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz encounter the poised, determined Kansas City lineup that vexed New York's more experienced pitchers in Games 1 and 2.