World Series reset: Will the hometown rookie draw the Mets even?


24 hours ago, many Mets fans were worried about the possibility of a World Series sweep. Things have changed in a hurry. The Mets’ bats finally woke up last night as they took Game 3 from the Royals by the score of 9-3. New York now has a chance to even up the series on Halloween night. Game 4 should be quite the atmosphere in Queens.

The Game: Kansas City Royals vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: Fox
The Starters: Steven Matz vs. Chris Young
The Upshot: You don’t need much help to find the narrative in this one. Matz, who grew up as a Mets fan on Long Island, will have a chance to even up the World Series in front of his home crowd. It’s a compelling angle, but this looks like a game where the bullpen will play a significant role for both sides.

Young, who pitched for the Mets in 2011 and 2012, threw three scoreless innings in relief and got the win back in Game 1. The veteran right-hander has posted a 2.31 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 11 2/3 innings this postseason. He’s certainly capable of shutting the Mets down the first time through the order, but he’s generally not someone who pitches deep into games. One wonders if getting a look at him back in Game 1 will prove beneficial for the Mets.

The Royals are angry about Noah Syndergaard‘s up and in pitch to Alcides Escobar to begin Game 3, but it’s unlikely we’ll see any retribution from Young in this one. These games are too important and you don’t want to be giving free baserunners. The Royals have the lead in this series and shouldn’t let nonsense distract them.

As for Matz, he owns a 3.72 ERA over two starts this postseason. The rookie southpaw hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in either of them. This will be just his ninth MLB start. Some nerves would be understandable. If Matz can shut down the pesky Royals offense and the Mets can get to Young in the early innings, New York could be sitting pretty in this one. But if this game is close in the middle innings and both starters are out of the game, Kansas City has the advantage.

Just for fun here: In case you haven’t heard by now, this series is strangely mirroring the 1986 World Series through the first three games. If that trend was to continue, we’d be looking at the Mets winning by four runs tonight.

Nationals GM Rizzo won’t reveal length of Martinez’s new contract

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WASHINGTON — Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension.

Sharing a table to a socially distanced degree with his manager on a video conference call to announce the new deal – each member of the duo sporting a 2019 World Series ring on his right hand – Nationals GM Mike Rizzo referred to the agreement’s “multiyear” nature, but repeatedly refused to reveal anything more specific in response to reporters’ questions.

“We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own. “That’s all we want to say about terms, because it’s private information and we don’t want you guys to know about it.”

When Martinez initially was hired by Rizzo in October 2017 – his first managing job at any level – the Nationals’ news release at the time announced that he was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year.

That 2021 option had not yet been picked up.

“The partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and kind of our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

The Nationals entered Saturday – Martinez’s 56th birthday – with a 23-34 record and in last place in the NL East, which Rizzo called “a disappointing season.” The team’s title defense was slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg threw just five innings because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand and players such as Starlin Castro, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Adam Eaton and Carter Kieboom finished the year on the IL.

“This year, for me, we didn’t get it done. We had a lot of bumps in the road this year. But I really, fully believe, we’ve got the core guys here that we need to win another championship,” Martinez said. “I know Mike, myself, we’re going to spend hours and hours and hours trying to fill the void with guys we think can potentially help us in the future. And we’ll be back on the podium. I’m really confident about that.”

Rizzo was asked Saturday why the team announces contract lengths for players, as is common practice around the major leagues, but wouldn’t do so in this instance for Martinez.

“The reason is we don’t want anybody to know. That’s the reason,” Rizzo said, before asking the reporter: “How much do you make? How many years do you have?”

Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. I don’t want you to know what I make or how many years I have. Davey doesn’t want you to know. And I think that it’s only fair … when people don’t want certain information out there, that we don’t give it.”

There were some calling for Martinez to lose his job last season when Washington got off to a 19-31 start. But Rizzo stood by his manager, and the team eventually turned things around, going 74-38 the rest of the way to reach the playoffs as an NL wild-card team.

The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7.

Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.

“Everything from Day 1 to where he’s gotten to now, he’s grown so much. He’s really become one of my favorite managers of all,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said after helping Washington win Saturday’s opener of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. “Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse, manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line.”