In the fourth inning of Game 2 of the World Series, Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto threw a first-pitch fastball far enough inside to make Daniel Murphy duck his head, spin out of the way and flash a wry smile. Though Murphy wound up walking in the plate appearance, the episode served to demonstrate both of the ways in which the Royals have attacked him this week.
With a one-sided game in the late innings, the television audience for Game 2 of the World Series was up just 6 percent over last year. Kansas City's 7-1 win over the New York Mets was seen by 13.7 million viewers on Fox, up from 12.9 million for the Royals' 7-2 victory over San Francisco in the second game of the 2014 Series.
During Game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night, the Royals had the tying run on second base with nobody out in the eighth inning. Lorenzo Cain, their best hitter, was at the plate. The sold-out crowd roared in anticipation.
Yordano Ventura is the flamethrower who stares down hitters. Johnny Cueto has flowing dreadlocks and nicknamed his motion ''The Rocking Chair.'' Edinson Volquez is the always ebullient guy who pitched just hours after his dad died. When Ventura takes the mound at Citi Field on Friday night to face the New York Mets, the Royals will become the first team in Series history to start three pitchers born outside the United States.
The Colorado Rockies have declined a $9 million mutual option on Justin Morneau and bought out the first baseman for $750,000. The 34-year-old Morneau captured the NL batting title with Colorado in 2014, when he hit .319. In addition, Morneau was the AL MVP in 2006 while with the Minnesota Twins.
The 1986 Mets did it. Ten other teams have done it. Now we'll find out if the 2015 Mets can do it. The "it" in question is somehow turning an 0-2 hole in a World Series into a title. With the Royals having protected their home-field edge by coming back in dramatic fashion in Game 1 and singling Jacob deGrom into submission in Game 2, the pressure, distinctly, is on the Mets when Game 3 of this Fall Classic begins Friday night.
Jim Callis discusses whether Dylan Bundy will ever return to peak form, what the Cubs will do with a middle-infield logjam and more in this week's Pipeline Inbox.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux will not return to the AL West champion Texas Rangers next season. The Rangers announced Thursday that they were parting ways with Maddux after seven seasons. General manager Jon Daniels said he and manager Jeff Banister met with Maddux ''to inform him we had decided to go in another direction.'' The pitching coach's brother, Hall of Fame pitcher and four-time NL Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux, is also leaving after serving four years as special assistant to Daniels.
The Rangers have informed Mike Maddux that he will not be returning as Rangers pitching coach. His brother Greg Maddux will also not be back next season as a special assistant.
These are the same Mets who outscored the Cubs, 21-7, in the NLCS sweep. They haven't lost their passion or their pulse, as they will try to show when the World Series resumes Friday night at Citi Field in Queens.
After leading the Blue Jays to their first postseason berth in more than 20 years, general manager Alex Anthopoulos is leaving the organization after turning down a contract extension.
David Wright's first World Series hasn't exactly gone as planned. On Monday's media day, Wright waxed eloquent about heading into the Fall Classic with the Mets for the first time in his 12-year career. He was thrilled.
Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully says he's ''chafing at the bit'' to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers' booth next year. Scully has recovered from an unspecified medical procedure that caused him to miss calling the team's playoff appearance against the New York Mets. In his first public comments since the procedure, Scully said in an interview with SportsNet LA that he's eager to return for his 67th season, which is expected to be his last.
One of Jerry Dipoto's vows upon taking over as Mariners general manager last month was to empower some of the quality people already employed in the team's front office, and he went about that Thursday by announcing new titles and responsibilities for holdovers Jeff Kingston, Tom Allison and Lee MacPhail IV.
SEATTLE (AP) -- New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto announced promotions Thursday for Jeff Kingston, Tom Allison and Lee MacPhail in Seattle's front office.
If the "six degrees of separation" concept applies to the real world, then the baseball world, with its myriad leagues, levels and opportunities for players to have been on a team together, operates on about three degrees of separation.
The Kansas City Royals are back in the World Series, and they are halfway to the four wins they'll need for their first title since 1985. One of the big reasons for their recent run of success is their defense, and that excellence has been acknowledged for the second consecutive year.
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers have hired Rich Dubee to be the team's new pitching coach.
It would be difficult to count each and every time Salvador Perez has been nicked, dinged, roughed up and generally abused while fielding his position this month, but when asked about it, the Royals' catcher brushes off the concerns as no big deal.
The Washington Nationals haven't answered all their offseason questions with the expected hiring of Bud Black as manager. But they've taken care of the largest one, and they've done it emphatically and wisely.