KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — New York right-hander Noah Syndergaard drew the ire of the Kansas City Royals during last year’s World Series. Now he’ll try to put a damper on their championship ring ceremony on Tuesday when the Mets and Royals conclude their season-opening two-game series at Kauffman Stadium, 3:15 on Tuesday afternoon on KTTN AM 1600 (pregame at 2:30 PM).
Much was made of how comfortable the Royals’ lineup looked through the first two games of last year’s World Series in Kansas City against the Mets. Syndergaard, though, took matters into his own hands when the series shifted to New York, as he fired a 97 mph fastball near the head of Kansas City leadoff batter Alcides Escobar to start Game 3.
Syndergaard offered no apologies after the game. In fact, he may have made things worse inside the Royals’ clubhouse, while becoming a hero to his own fan base.
“If they have a problem with me throwing inside, then they can meet me 60 feet 6 inches away,” Syndergaard said after the contest. “I’ve got no problem with that.”
Syndergaard defeated the Royals that night, limiting them to three runs and seven hits over six innings, while striking out six in the Mets’ only win of the series.
The Royals apparently still harbor some ill will toward the 23-year-old fireballer.
“I don’t think they’re too fond of me, but as far as retaliation goes, I really don’t know what they’re going to retaliate against,” Syndergaard told MLB’s official website. “All I did was establish the inner part of the plate. So I don’t know what this whole retaliation talk is all about. But it’s going to be an interesting time.”
Kansas City picked up right where it left off in Sunday’s opener – the first-ever between the previous World Series combatants – as it raced out to a four-run lead before Wade Davis struck out David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes with two runners on in the ninth to preserve a 4-3 victory.
The Royals raised their world championship banner prior to the game.
“It was just strange, the pregame ceremony. I think I would have enjoyed it more if we played another team,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “For them torelive that, it’s a little awkward.”
It likely won’t be any less uncomfortable on Tuesday when the Royals receive their championship rings. After that, they will hand the ball to right-hander Chris Young, who pitched twice in last year’s Fall Classic, picking up the win in relief in Game 1 before failing to record a decision in his Game 4 start.
Young was a big part of the Royals’ success last season, going 11-6 with a 3.06 ERA in 18 regular-season starts. The 36-year-old continued to excel in the postseason, posting a 2.87 ERA in four appearances – including two starts.
Young, who pitched for the Mets from 2011-12, is 0-1 with a 6.05 ERA in four career regular-season starts against them.
He’s been especially tough on Cespedes and Wright, holding them to a combined 2 for 20.