Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer spoke to reporters at Citi Field about overcoming being down two games to none and beating the Kansas City Royals. He says Noah Syndergaard is ready for tonight’s challenge and that the team is ready for this moment.
Do you think perhaps the media and the fans are getting too down on the team being down two games to none?
Obviously we would like to not be down 0-2, but we are. We’re not going to give up, obviously. We’re going to continue to battle. Teams have been down 0-2 before and come back. There is a precedent set for that. I believe the last time the Mets won the World Series they were down 0-2 and won, and those were two they lost at home.
We get to come here now, where we’ve played well all year, in front of a fan base that is really excited. I think that’s an understatement. Really excited to have us back out on the field, and we’re really excited to get back out and play in front of them.
You saw these Royals when they were a very bad team, are you impressed at their evolution?
Well, when I was in Minnesota, yeah, we’d seen them obviously a lot. And one thing that they did have as a characteristic of a team is they were always a tough, tough game. I think that relentlessness has stuck with them. They are able to battle, great at-bats, make big pitches when they had to make big pitches and just played good baseball. That characteristic they had, even in those down seasons a few years ago.
Everybody spoke about the Royals’ ability to put the ball in play and how well they hit guys that threw 95-plus. Still, has it surprised you that they’ve lived up to their billing against deGrom, Harvey, Familia?
I think last night was, I mean, a credit to them and a little bit of a surprise. Only to have, I don’t know, what was it three swing-and-misses against Jake the whole game, which obviously is uncharacteristic of a game that Jake pitches. And that’s not to discredit anything Jake did. That’s what their game plan was.
You look at Game 1, and obviously up until the ninth inning, we were winning that game. So the narrative could be totally different. And that’s in any series, that’s in any World Series. When you’ve got two of the best teams in the game playing, games can teeter either way with one play. Obviously Gordon hitting the big home run was the one that teetered in their favor. But, yeah, they’ve put great at-bats together, and hopefully we can now game-plan at our ballpark and change that narrative.
Noah Syndergaard is now tasked with pitching in the biggest game of the year, and he wasn’t even on the roster until May.
The maturity level that he’s been able to go through, I don’t want to say transformation, but the evolution that he’s been able to go through from that first day in Wrigley Field for his debut, up to now has been extremely impressive. Especially for a 22-year-old, to be pitching in games of this magnitude and be able to handle it as well as he is. I think you see now a guy that trusts his stuff, obviously you should when you throw 98, 97, 100 miles an hour, but also the secondary and third pitches as well. He’s not afraid to throw the curveball. He’s not afraid to throw the changeup. Not afraid to throw those in fastball counts, which says a lot about a young flamethrower. We’re really excited to see him on this stage and see him pitch tomorrow night, and very confident to have him out on the mound.
Do you as a veteran tell the young players, it’s not about being down 0-2; it’s all about Game 3?
Yeah, we talked about you have to win four games, no matter what. Doesn’t matter the order you win them in, doesn’t matter if it’s four games in a row, back-to-back, doesn’t matter. You have to win four games. And it starts with winning the first one. Hopefully for us tomorrow it’s winning Game 1.
The one thing about this team, no matter what point you look at in the course of the year, whenever we had the so called must-win situation, that everybody to put labels on games in May and June, whenever we had those games, we went out and we won those games. Whenever we were down 0-2 on a road series, and we really wanted to win that third game to salvage that series, we won that game.
I think all of those series and all of those games hopefully prepared us for the moment that we’re in right now. Obviously games are a much bigger magnitude. I don’t want to downplay the magnitude of the World Series, but at the same time I think those games battle test you for this moment.