World Series Game 4: Five things you need to know before first pitch

Big League Stew

NEW YORK — In the past 24 hours, a lot of things have gone the New York Mets' way. Primarily, they won Game 3 of the World Series in convincing 9-3 fashion.

But in the bigger picture: they got under the Royals' skin after Noah Syndergaard buzzed Alcides Escobar with the first pitch of the game; their offense came alive; and they showed more fight than they did at all in Kansas City.

(AP)
(AP)

If the Mets can take Game 4 on Saturday night at Citi Field (first pitch at 8:07 p.m. ET, TV coverage on Fox), we've got a whole new series. If you listen to two veteran Mets, they think they have one important advantage over the Royals. They got a good look at Royals' starter Chris Young in Game 1, when he pitched three hitless innings.

[Related: Royals hurt by uncharacteristic mistakes in Game 3 loss to Mets]

"I think the good thing for us is he threw a lot in the first game," said Mets leadoff man Curtis Granderson. "I think everyone got a chance to get at least one at-bat against him. Take it for what it's worth. He came in later in the ballgame. It will be a different situation him starting the ballgame and trying to go as many innings as possible. Hopefully the one at-bat that everybody got, and I think some might have gotten two at-bats against him, might be beneficial for us."

That might help the Mets because Young is something of an anomaly in MLB. He's 6-foot-11, but he throws pretty soft (topping out at 90 mph) and relies on deception and his own cunning. (He went to Princeton)

"We know that the deception," said Mets captain David Wright, "and obviously the height and the way that he's revamped himself to be able to get the swings and misses and to be able to pitch at the top of the strike zone with his fastball and then bury the slider. He's done a tremendous job of understanding what he's capable of doing on the mound. And he's so smart where he can think along with the hitter. And normally he's one step ahead.

(AP)
(AP)

WATCH FOR THE PAYBACK
The big storyline to come out of Game 3 was Syndergaard's high-and-tight fastball to Escobar. It was the first pitch of the game, but afterward, it was all anyone was talking about.

[Related: Five key moments from the Mets' 9-3 win in World Series Game 3]

The Royals were very upset, calling it "weak" and many similar gripes. Syndergaard stood by what he did, saying he wanted to make the Royals uncomfortable and even challenged anyone who didn't like it to basically fight him. (We recommend you read Jeff Passan's column on this ordeal, if you haven't yet).

Spinning this forward: What happens next?

Are the Royals mad enough about it to do something in Game 4? Their starting pitcher is a light-throwing giant, not exactly head-hunter material, so it would be somewhat surprising if he buzzed a Mets batter early on. We don't know what will happen, and that's the point here. It's an important thing to watch for Saturday night.

IS THIS 1986 ALL OVER AGAIN?
There's an odd bit of history repeating itself so far in this series. Let's turn to Jared Diamond, the Mets writer for the Wall Street Journal to show us:

[Related: Captain's Duty: A beat-up David Wright leads Mets to Game 3 win]

Woah. Chew on that! If the Mets win Game 4 by four runs (like the '86 Mets did), people might start freaking out about this. Please know, though, you can't look at this as anything other than coincidence. It's fun coincidence, sure, but still coincidence.

THE METS DEPEND ON ANOTHER ROOKIE IN GAME 4
After Syndergaard, a 23-year-old, rookie, got the Mets back into this series, they'll now depend on Steven Matz, a 24-year-old rookie, to help them even the series. Matz isn't as experienced as Syndergaard, he started six games for New York in the regular season, but showed himself to be impressive, going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA. So far in the postseason, he has a 3.72 ERA in two starts. Both were Game 4s. The Mets won one and lost the other.

HERE ARE YOUR LINEUPS
Here's how the Mets and Royals line it up for Game 4, which not surpisingly is exactly the same way both teams lined up in Game 3.  

The Mets lineup posted nine runs in Game 3. The Royals only managed three, but Ned Yost is again opting for defense. 

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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