The Mets hope a return to Citi Field will reverse their fortunes in this World Series. Being down 2-0 with the next three games (if Game 5 is necessary) at home certainly isn’t a death sentence, but a 3-0 deficit would be. After sweeping the Cubs in the NLCS, both the offense and pitching have let down the Mets in the World Series. Here are five players who must step up in Game 3 …)
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Time to step up: Yoenis Cespedes
Cespedes seemingly singlehandedly carried the offense (17 homers) during the final two months of the regular season when the Mets made their charge. However, his only two homers this postseason came in the NLDS. In the first two games of the World Series, Cespedes is 1 for 10 with no RBI. When he isn’t a factor, it makes it easier for the Royals to pitch around Daniel Murphy.
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Time to step up: Daniel Murphy
It isn’t that Murphy has been terrible; it’s that he merely has been human. After homering in six consecutive games heading into the World Series, Murphy has only two singles in nine at-bats against the Royals. If he gets hot again – even a solo homer could reenergize this offense – it could turn around the entire series the way Alex Gordon’s game-tying shot did in the ninth inning of Game 1.
Getty ImagesChristian Petersen
Time to step up: Noah Syndergaard
Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom both failed to hold leads in the first two games, leading FOX Sports Insider Ken Rosenthal to wonder if fatigue might be a factor. It’s up to Thor to disprove that theory. He certainly will be rested, having last pitched Oct. 18 in the NLCS. Syndergaard must greatly reduce the Royals’ comfort level at the plate and remain effective the second and third times through the order.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesBrad Mangin
Time to step up: David Wright
Like so many other Mets, Wright has struggled to find his groove offensively, with just two hits and no RBI in 11 at-bats in this World Series. The team can survive if one of its 2-3-4 hitters is slumping, but not when all three are scuffling. Wright has extra motivation to get back on track because his error in the 14th inning of Game 1 led to the eventual game-winning run.
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Time to step up: The Michael in the outfield
Rookie Michael Conforto and veteran Michael Cuddyer have combined to go 0 for 8 in the first two games. Conforto started in left field in Game 1 and drove in a run despite being hitless, while Cuddyer struck out all three times he batted after entering as a mid-game replacement at DH. Conforto went 0 for 3 in Game 2. As a result, the Mets again could start Juan Lagares and leave Cuddyer and Conforto on the bench. But Lagares has far less pop, and the Mets certainly need offense.