Both the Royals and Mets hold a 2-0 lead in their respective League Championship Series following the Mets’ 4-1 win over the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS tonight. Five Mets pitchers (including Noah Syndergaard, who threw 5 2/3 innings) held Chicago to five hits in the game while Jake Arrieta struggled, allowing four runs in just five innings of work. The NLCS has an off-day Monday as the scene shifts to Wrigley Field, while the Blue Jays will try to get on the board in Game 3 of the ALCS at Rogers Centre. Some news from around baseball…
- Matt Harvey’s excellent start in Game 1 of the NLCS should end any trade speculation surrounding the ace righty, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. The innings-limit controversy between Harvey, Scott Boras and the Mets in September led to rumors that the Mets could look to part ways with Harvey this winter, though his postseason performance has surely gone a long way to erasing any hard feelings.
- Dusty Baker spoke to reporters (including MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom) about his desire to return to a dugout. Baker said his recent interview with the Nationals “was good” and apparently he cleared up some misconceptions the Nats might’ve had about him. “People think they know you through word of mouth, but it’s somebody else’s opinion. I mean, they don’t really know you until you talk to somebody. Then, it’s like, ’Wow, I didn’t know you were like that,’ ” Baker said. It doesn’t look like the Padres have an interest in Baker as their next manager, however, as he said he contacted San Diego “and they said, ’Thanks for the interest.’ That was the extent of it.”
- Twins owner Jim Pohlad discusses several topics in an interview with LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, including Torii Hunter’s future, Paul Molitor’s rookie season as manager and how the club is responding to their return to respectability. In regards to payroll, Pohlad said that “we’re willing to do whatever it takes,” though there are apparently some limits. “I will tell you that I’m not a huge fan of long-term contracts. It’s having to commit for so many years and there’s really only downside to the club. There’s hardly any instances where it has been upside, across baseball,” Pohlad said.
- That comment from Pohlad is parsed by 1500 ESPN’s Derek Wetmore, who notes that several of the Twins’ recent long-term deals aren’t projecting to end well. Still, Wetmore doesn’t think Pohlad is absolutely against long-term deals as a rule, and perhaps the owner could be more interested in contracts for fewer years but with a higher annual average value.
- While the Cardinals haven’t missed a beat in the standings, their offense has been in slow decline for a few seasons, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. The Cards’ lineup has been propped up by statistical anomalies (an incredible average with runners in scoring position in 2013, for instance) and their run differential has been inflated by their great pitching and defense. Power has been a particular issue over the last two seasons, though it’s possible more pop could come from within once youngsters Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk grow more accustomed to the majors.