Jacob deGrom and Johnny Cueto will take the mound when the World Series resumes Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. game time). The matchup pits a pair of potentially dominant righties against one another in what should be a pivotal Game 2 at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City.
Kansas City took Game 1 in thrilling fashion, walking off in the 14th inning to beat the Mets 5-4. Here's how the starting pitchers will line up when the Fall Classic resumes:
Why he'll win: deGrom has been unflappable this postseason, winning all three of his starts on the road despite struggling with his command each time out. He's bested Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Kyle Hendricks with the help of 27 strikeouts in 20 postseason innings.
Pitcher beware: The Mets believe deGrom's early-game command struggles this postseason could be related to fatigue. The righty is at 211 innings pitched this season, easily his professional high. Now would be a bad time to run out of gas.
Bottom line: It wasn't long ago that deGrom's opponent, Cueto, was a consistent cog in the conversation surrounding the National League's top pitchers. deGrom has taken that slot now, after Cueto's trade to the American League coincided with deGrom's rapid ascent to ace status this season. He's been New York's most reliable arm for almost two years and its most clutch this October.
Johnny Cueto, Royals
Against the Opponent Career: 11 GS, 3-4, 4.02 ERA 2015: 1 GS, 0-1, 3.00 ERA Loves to face:Daniel Murphy, .176 (3-for-17); Lucas Duda, .200 (3-for-15), 10 K's Hates to face:Travis d'Arnaud, .600 (3-for-5), 2 2Bs
Why he'll win: Including the postseason, Cueto's American League ERA (5.27) is more than two runs higher than it was over eight years in the National League (3.22). And for the first time since his trade to Kansas City in July, Cueto is back facing an NL team. Maybe that slight familiarity helps the righty get back on track.
Pitcher beware: It's no secret. Cueto hasn't been Cueto since joining the Royals. That all culminated in his last start, when Cueto allowed eight earned runs in two innings in Game 3 of the ALCS.
Bottom line: The righty shouldn't struggle as much as he did in that historically rough performance, but fact is, right now the Royals don't know what to expect.
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.