NEW YORK: Despite historic losses to Kansas City in the first two games of the World Series, the New York Mets come home confident they can swipe a championship from the Royals.
Kansas City won the longest opener in World Series history 5-4 in 14 innings and routed the Mets 7-1 in Game Two, New York managing only a playoff record low two hits.
Now the Royals are halfway to their first crown since 1985 in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven finals entering Game Three on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
“There’s a lot of confidence in the clubhouse. We’re down, but we’re not out,” Mets manager Terry Collins said Thursday. “We fought back so many times this year. This is just another challenge that we have to meet and so far we’ve met them all.
“We’ve got to swing better. We know we’re better offensively. We’ve got to certainly get it going.”
Teams with 2-0 Series leads win 79 percent of the time and have taken titles in 15 of the past 16 such situations, the exception being the New York Yankees over Atlanta in 1996. But no team has fallen behind 0-3 and won the World Series.
Still, the Mets won their most recent World Series in 1986 rallying from 0-2 down and Kansas City was in an 0-2 hole before fighting back to win the crown 30 years ago.
“It all goes back to confidence,” Collins said. “We can do this. We’ve done it. Now it’s a matter of going to the plate and getting some good balls to hit.”
The Mets are 52-33 at home this season, including a 3-1 record in the playoffs.
“Right now we can’t think about the hole that we’re in. We’ve got to concentrate on one at a time,” Mets captain David Wright said.
“We’re playing in the World Series. We don’t need to be reminded that we’re a good team. They took care of their home field. We need to take care of ours.”
Playing under National League rules at the Mets’ ballpark means pitchers will bat for the American League champion Royals while designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who had 22 home runs and batted in 106 runs this season, will be reduced to a pinch-hitting role or have to replace another fielder while seldom-batting pitchers must take their swings.
“You’re going to ask their pitchers to do something they’re not comfortable doing, probably, so that’s going to change their lineup,” Collins said. “You’re taking one of the guys in the middle of that lineup out, but they are pretty deep. We still have a challenge ahead of us. We can’t take anything for granted.”