Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Royals pick Edinson Volquez to start World Series opener

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals will send RHP Edinson Volquez to the mound tonight in Game 1 of the World Series, choosing their most consistent starter to lead things off against the Mets. The more volatile RHP Johnny Cueto will go in Game 2.

Royals manager Ned Yost announced his rotation Monday at Kauffman Stadium, where the first two games will be played. RHP Yordano Ventura will get the ball when the teams head to Citi Field in New York for Game 3 on Friday, with veteran RHP Chris Young offering a change of pace in Game 4.

"We wanted Johnny Cueto in Game 2 because Johnny really feeds off the home crowd, and we're able to have Johnny in Game 2 and Game 6 here at home," Yost said. "We think that gives us a bit of advantage having Johnny pitching at home in front of our home crowd."

The Mets will start RHP Matt Harvey in Game 1, followed by RHP Jacob deGrom. RHP Noah Syndergaard and LHP Steven Matz will follow at Citi Field.

Volquez was 13-9 with a 3.55 ERA during the season as the replacement for departed veteran RHP James Shields. Though he had a 4.32 ERA in three playoff starts, he did pitch six two-hit innings to beat the Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series opener.

"It's a great honor to pitch in this game, especially pitching at home," said Volquez, who had never made it past the Division Series in two previous postseason appearances.

"I don't have to do anything different than what I've been doing," he said. "I've got to stay focused in what you're doing, especially this game, because this is a World Series game. You don't have too many chances to make a lot of mistakes in those games."

A HAIRY DILEMMA: Mets captain David Wright is not a fan of the long locks of deGrom and Syndergaard.

"We got some guys that think they have good hair, but I don't really know," the third baseman said playfully. "I saw some Halloween costumes with their hair, and it's bad. They look bad. I tell them every day."

Wright keeps his hair closely cropped. The pitchers' hair flows down from their caps.

"DeGrom, I got a lock of his hair last year that still hangs above my locker," Wright said.

CITY PRIDE: Several members of the Royals were guests of the NFL's Chiefs on Sunday, watching their cross-the-parking lot neighbors beat the Steelers to snap a five-game skid.

The next day, Chiefs coach Andy Reid offered his encouragement.

"I look forward to seeing them kick this thing off here in a couple days, I guess (today), right?" Reid said, apparently unaware that kicking off is, well, a football term.

METS INJURIES: Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes said he'll be ready to play tonight despite an ailing left shoulder. "I'm feeling very well. I believe that (today) I'm going to be at 100 percent," Cespedes said. Also, OF Curtis Granderson will play with a jammed thumb sustained during the NLCS.

EX-RAY TO DH: Kelly Johnson will be the Mets' DH in tonight's opener. Acquired from the Braves on July 24, Johnson, who played for the Rays in 2013, hit .250 with a .304 on-base percentage and a .414 slugging percentage in 49 games with New York. He is 1-for-6 in the postseason.

WET NIGHT: Rain is in the forecast for tonight's game. Major League Baseball is hopeful the game can be played on time and without interruption. But with a 60 percent chance of showers at game time, MLB is not 100 percent sure.

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