The article below appeared on Missourinet.com back on Halloween following Game 3 of the World Series.
Word out of New York is that the Royals are planning some type of retaliation during one of the first two games of the season when the World Series champs host the defending National League Champions. I have no problem with that either.
If the Royals want to buzz a pitch over the head of David Wright, they have every right to do so. No sense in plunking a batter, but if someone wants to airmail at 98 mph pitch to say to the Mets, ‘We remember,” fine.
Then after that…both clubs should move.
After winning the first two games in their home park, the Royals were on a roll heading into Game 3 at Citi Field in New York. It looked like nothing would stop them. That lineup from top to bottom had been clicking on all cylinders. It all starts with Alcides Escobar at the top of the order. He’s the spark plug that gets that engine going.
During the postseason, as I watched at-bat after at-bat with Escobar swinging at the first pitch, I was dumbfounded that starting pitchers continued to groove first pitch strikes to him.
Noah Syndergaard, New York’s game three starter, had a plan. He wanted to send a message to Royals hitters and Esky in particular that they were not going to get comfortable in the batter’s box. It worked against Escobar and yet the Royals still had a chance to bounce “Thor” from the game, but Yordano Ventura let them down.
My thoughts on why Syndergaard’s plan was smart from the Mets perspective. Watch via Periscope
Noah Syndergaard’s plan
Watch the first at-bat sequence (Video/MLB, Fox)
Why do I not have a problem with throwing at someone’s head you might ask? Because he wasn’t throwing at Escobar’s head. Had Escobar stood in the batter’s box and not moved, the ball would not have hit him. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have moved, that’s human nature…but that was not Syndergaard’s intent. The pitch was meant to make Escobar uncomfortable.
In fact the Fox TV announcers set it up perfectly.
As Escobar walked to home plate, Harold Reynolds:
“Well we know he swings at the first pitch, the question is will it be 100 or 101?”
Right on cue Tom Verducci nails the prediction.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see this fastball in on Escoba, announce yourself right away if you’re Noah Syndergaard.”
No batter wants to face a pitch like that and that’s why Esky’s teammates came to his defense. The best way they could do that was by scoring that run in the first and then coming back with two more in the second. They had Syndergaard on the ropes and Escobar’s single off of him in the second unfortunately was the last hit they would get for a long time. Syndergaard retired the next 12 in a row as they built a 5-3 lead when he left after six innings.
The Royals didn’t get another hit until two outs in the sixth, but they couldn’t cash in and it stayed a two-run game until the Mets then blew the game open with four runs in the bottom half of the inning.
A big reason the Mets are in the World Series is that the Cubs continued to let Daniel Murphy become too comfortable in the batter’s box. He homered in all four games and it wasn’t until he homered in the deciding game four that a pitcher for Chicago came in tight on him. By then, New York hitters became comfortable, they were swinging with confidence and they swept their way into the World Series.
When its your team that receives the message, you don’t like it. Remember it was the same type of messages that Royals pitchers sent to Josh Donaldson of Toronto during a key August series that cleared both benches. Fans and media can say all they want about how there is no room in the game for throwing high and tight, but it’s been part of the game and will continue to be part of the game.
Best thing to do…move on, win game four and send a different message to New York.