NEW YORK — Sometime in the past few decades, pitching high and inside has become a violation of baseball etiquette if not the rules.
So when Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard opened Game 3 of the World Series with a 97 mph pitch above the head of Alcides Escobar, sending the leadoff hitter sprawling, the Royals screamed as if the rookie pitcher had committed an assault.
"You watch guys growing up, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez, all those epic battles that they had, and I think the time has changed," fellow Mets RHP Matt Harvey said Saturday. "But this is part of baseball. As a power pitcher you've got to keep guys uncomfortable and off balance. When there's a time to do it, there's a time to do it."
Syndergaard said ahead of his outing that he had "a few tricks" up his sleeve for Escobar, who hit an inside-the-park home run on Harvey's first pitch of the opener and flied out on RHP Jacob deGrom's opening pitch of Game 2. After Syndergaard's first pitch, Escobar wound up sitting in the batter's box as teammates shouted curses from the dugout.
"I think it set a tone that, hey, look, we're in this World Series, too, and we're going to get after it," New York manager Terry Collins said.
Escobar struck out, and the Mets went on to win 9-3.
Escobar thought Syndergaard could have backed him off by throwing low and inside.
"You don't need to throw to my head," he said.
"I didn't expect him to throw a strike, but I didn't expect him to throw it under his chin, either," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But we've got a few tricks up our sleeves, too."
ON DECK: Royals RHP Edinson Volquez remains scheduled to start tonight's Game 5 after his father's death, pending a conversation with Yost.
NO LIMITS: Mets RHP Matt Harvey said his innings limit is "completely out the window" for tonight's start.
TEJADA TALKS: Mets SS Ruben Tejada said he believes Chase Utley's takeout slide was indeed a dirty play. But in his first public comments since his season ended against the Dodgers in the NL Division Series, Tejada told Newsday that his anger had subsided. "We're here and he's at home," Tejada said.