After a 14-inning thriller in Game 1 of the World Series, the Royals took control of Game 2 a little earlier and cruised to a 7-1 win thanks to Johnny Cueto's complete game two-hitter. Kansas City has a 2-0 lead in the series as it shifts to New York for three games. Here's what they're saying about Cueto and the Royals' win Wednesday night:
*Michael Rosenberg of SI.com credits Ned Yost with Cueto's success in Game 2.
Royals fans can pick apart Yost's in-game decisions, but he may have won Game 2, and effectively this series, simply by the way he set his rotation. Johnny Cueto has not been the Royals' second-best starter, but Yost started him in Game 2 for a really smart reason: He did not want the mercurial Cueto pitching before a raucous, heckling crowd in New York. He knew if Cueto had a Kansas City crowd behind him, he might look like an ace again. Cueto was magnificent in Game 2. His next start will be Game 6, in Kansas City. Or, you know, next year.
*ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Royals are simply hitting machines and nothing has worked against them this postseason:
This is a team you just can't squash. Apparently.
*USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes that it's starting to look like the Royals could return to Kansas City with some hardware.
The series may not be over, but if these first two games are any indication, the next time the Royals return to Kansas City, they'll be picking up a World Series trophy at baggage claim.
*Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com says when Cueto had everything going for him Wednesday night. But he's been inconsistent since the Royals acquired him.
Cueto is in some impressive company. He became the first pitcher to throw at least nine innings and allow two or fewer hits since Atlanta's Greg Maddux achieved the feat in Game 1 of the 1995 World Series against Cleveland. The last AL pitcher to do that in the World Series was Boston's Jim Lonborg, in Game 2 of the 1967 Fall Classic against St. Louis.
*Dan Connolly of The Sun attributes the Royals' success this postseason to a strong bullpen.
If the Royals win the World Series, it's going to put an exclamation point on a trend that has been bubbling at the surface for a couple of years now: bullpens have five or more shutdown relievers.