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Maybe sweeping the Cubs wasn't such a good idea

David Wright and Daniel Murphy of the New

David Wright and Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets react in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals in Game Two of the 2015 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 28, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. Credit: Getty Images / Christian Petersen

Maybe the Mets should have let the Cubs win a few games.

Forget about The Curse of the Billy Goat or the black cat or The Curse of the Bambino. The Mets may be dealing with a sinister force that rears its malicious head only after the League Championship Series:

The Curse of the LCS Sweep.

The Mets -- who trail the Royals two games to none in the World Series, which resumes Friday night at Citi Field -- swept the Cubs in the National League Championship Series while the Royals needed six games to win the ALCS against the Blue Jays.

Advantage, Mets, right? Well, history suggests otherwise.

Since the ALCS and NLCS were expanded to seven games in 1985, seven teams swept their way into the World Series before the Mets became the eighth.

Of the previous seven, only one went on to win the World Series -- the 1995 Atlanta Braves. Three of the sweepers became sweepees themselves in the World Series (1990 A's, 2007 Rockies, 2012 Tigers).

The Royals know all about the LCS curse. Kansas City swept the Orioles last season to advance to its first World Series since 1985 before losing to the San Francisco Giants in seven games.

Not only did the Mets sweep the Cubs, they turned that club into a pack of docile teddy bears. The Mets never trailed in the series and got to dance all over Wrigley Field on Oct. 21 after a series-ending 8-3 romp in Game 4.

But the Royals clearly are not the Cubs. They don't swing and miss as often and don't have catcher-turned-butcher Kyle Schwarber flopping around in leftfield.

Perhaps as troubling for the Mets is that the Royals gave them their Buckner moment in the eighth inning of Game 1 when first baseman Eric Hosmer let Wilmer Flores' bouncer skip past him for an error to send in Ray Knight . . . er, Juan Lagares . . . with the go-ahead run.

But Kansas City didn't stick to the 1986 reboot script. Alex Gordon tied the score with a homer off Jeurys Familia in the bottom of the ninth and the Royals went on to win in the 14th inning, 5-4.

In Game 2, Johnny Cueto two-hit the Mets and Jacob deGrom took his first loss of the postseason after three victories as the Royals won, 7-1, at Kauffman Stadium.

A more tangible reason for the Mets' two-game deficit could be the five days off between the NLCS and World Series. Although the rest was supposed to be beneficial for the Mets' starting pitchers, Matt Harvey and deGrom were less sharp than usual.

A long layoff at any time of the season is bad for hitters, who rely on timing and repetition. The Mets got some work in during the down time, but every hitter in creation will tell you there is no substitute for facing live pitching.

"I don't think that's affected us much," David Wright said. "I just think they've outplayed us. It's as simple as that."

The Royals, meanwhile, had only three days off after vanquishing the Blue Jays. And any thought that Kansas City wouldn't be ready to avenge its 2014 World Series defeat ended when Alcides Escobar hit an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch thrown by Harvey in the Mets' first World Series game since 2000.

Curtis Granderson was asked after Game 2 if he thought the layoff affected the Mets.

"No, not at all," he said.

So it must be The Curse, right? Or perhaps something a little easier to comprehend?

"The Kansas City Royals are playing very well," he said. "They pitch the ball, they hit the ball. They do all the things they need to do to be successful."

Or as Wright put it: "I just think they've outplayed us. Just it's as simple as that. When you pitch better, hit better, play defense better, normally you're going to win those games."


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