Sunday night in Queens, NY the Kansas City Royals will take the field with a chance to close out the New York Mets and crown themselves World Series champions. With what would appear to be a commanding 3-1 series lead after Saturday night's 5-3 win.
But that last one won't come easy.
As they have thoughout the series, the Royals will face one of the best, young pitchers in baseball in Matt Harvey.
Harvey has thrown 208 innings this season between the regular season and the playoffs, and despite the much-publicized spat between Harvey's agent and the Mets over his workload in September, the 26-year old doesn't seem to be concerned about another eight or nine innings under his belt.
"As a starting pitcher and being a younger guy, I think getting to that 200-innings limit is something you always look for," Harvey said. "You kind of want to be a horse and go out there. And you look at guys who have thrown 230 innings year after year after year, that's kind of somebody who I've always wanted to be. I think, obviously, after this start I'll probably be hopefully around 215 innings or so. And that's a good mark for me. I'm definitely happy about that."
Harvey started Game 1 and pitched six innings in what was eventually a 14-inning Royals win. He gave up three earned runs on five hits while walking two and striking out two.
The Royals will counter with their Game 1 starter, Edinson Volquez, who returned from the Dominican Republic on Saturday after burying his father, Daniel, who died suddenly prior to Volquez taking the mound last Tuesday. Volquez will carry a heavy heart to the mound Sunday night, but will look to honor his father on the field.
"I wish he could be here right now and enjoy every game that I pitch,'' Volquez said. "And tomorrow [Sunday] I'm going to be thinking of my mom, and the rest of my family is going to be so happy to see me pitch. My mom told me before I got here: 'Go over there and enjoy the game like you always do and be proud. We are proud of you.'''
Mets manager Terry Collins, whose own father passed away last February, admires Volquez for starting Game 5 and said it may be a big part of his overall healing process.
"I'm sure the one thing his father would want him to do is pitch Game 5,'' said Collins. "So you're challenged by that, the grief, and yet, hey, look, you know what would make him proud and make him happy, and that's to go out and do what you do best and that's to pitch.
"So I salute him because I know how hard it will be for him. Right now he's got something else to pitch for, and that's the memory of his dad. He's already tough enough."
The Royals came back Saturday night with a three-run 8th inning after trailing at one point 3-1. That marked the sixth time this postseason that the Royals have overcome at least a two-run defcit to win a game, a Major League record.
Sunday's game is scheduled for an 815pm start and will be broadcast on FOX.