World Series Preview: New York Mets Battle the Kansas City Royals


The 111th World Series pits the New York Mets against the Kansas City Royals, as the two teams battle for supremacy in the baseball world. The Royals are in the World Series for the fourth time, and the second consecutive year. They have one World Series title to their record, coming back in 1985, but fell last season to the San Francisco Giants in a dramatic game seven. The Mets are the last team standing in the National League for the fifth time, and the first since 2000, when they fell in the Subway Series to the New York Yankees. They won the series in 1969 and 1986.

The New York Mets’ calling card, both through the regular season and the postseason, has been their starting pitching. Their starting four, consisting of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, has driven them through the first two rounds, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, and sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.

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On the Kansas City side, their starting rotation has been effective for the most part, but not nearly consistent as New York’s. Since being picked up at the trade deadline, Johnny Cueto has been wildly unpredictable after being brought over to be an ace. Yordano Ventura is electric, but is still a pup at 24 years old, and sometimes gets involved in a little too much extra-curricular activity. Edinson Volquez has had his share of postseason troubles, this year and in the past, but he does have a six-shutout inning start on his resumé this October. Chris Young has been solid, but isn’t really much more than a five-inning starter at this point in his career. For Kansas City, that’s not really a problem.

While the Royals’ rotation may not be up to par with the Mets, they do make up for it with an incredible relief group. Despite missing their regular closer Greg Holland, who is sidelined because of Tommy John surgery, the top three guys out of the bullpen haven’t missed a beat. Wade Davis has slid into the closer’s role, and has done a bang-up job in Holland’s stead. Along with Kelvin Herrera and Luke Hochevar (who missed the 2014 postseason run because of his own Tommy John surgery), those three give Kansas City a different look to their bullpen “Big Three”. Combined, Davis, Herrera, and Hochevar have thrown 21 innings in the playoffs, and allowed 17 baserunners and one run while striking out 28.

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  • New York’s bullpen isn’t as deep as the Royals, but they do have a fantastic ninth inning man in their own right. Jeurys Familia was lights out for the Mets in the regular season in his first taste as regular closer, taking over for Jenrry Mejia, who was suspended twice this year. In eight appearances this postseason, Familia has been lights out again, giving up no runs and just four baserunners in 9.2 innings. Familia, a former starter, has gotten more than three outs three times.

    The Royals will take on the Mets’ stellar pitching with one of the deepest lineups in baseball. They don’t rely on the long ball, which was ultimately the undoing of the Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, they are a long string of excellent contact hitters who keep the line moving, and aren’t afraid to take the extra base (like Lorenzo Cain in game six of the ALCS, who scored from first base on a single). With hitters like Ben Zobrist, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, and Kendrys Morales (who will be the designated hitter when KC gets that benefit) joining Cain, the Royals’ lineup is extremely dangerous.

    Kansas City’s lineup is the most difficult in baseball to strike out, and have been for four seasons running. Since the 2012 campaign started, they have struck out 4,038 times, over 500 strikeouts less than the next closest team, the Texas Rangers. In the World Series, they’ll be facing strikeout artists in the Mets’ rotation. In the regular season, Syndergaard struck out 10 per nine innings, deGrom struck out 9.7, Harvey struck out 8.9, and Matz struck out 9.1 between the major and minor leagues.

    Offensively, the Mets have been led through October by the blazing, molten hot bat of Daniel Murphy. The obvious choice for NLCS MVP, Murphy hit .529 and drove in six while hitting a home run in each game, pushing his MLB record streak to six consecutive games with a home run this postseason. Yoenis Cespedes is a force in the middle of the Mets’ order, although he was relatively quiet in the past series. Lucas Duda got out to an incredibly slow start this October, as he had three hits in 24 at-bats through his first eight games. In the decisive game four against Chicago, he collected three hits (two doubles and a home run), and drove in five runs. He will need to pick up some of the slack in the World Series.

    Royals’ manager Ned Yost has withheld the team’s World Series rotation thus far, because he’s “being a little bit of a punk” (those are his words, don’t shoot the messenger). Andy McCollough, of the Kansas City Star, has offered his insight to the likely Royals’ rotation, so the following schedule uses his predictions for the Kansas City probables.

    Complete schedule for the World Series (all games are shown on Fox):

    Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 27th at Kauffman Stadium, 5:07 PT (Harvey vs. Volquez)

    Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 28th at Kauffman Stadium, 5:07 PT (deGrom vs. Cueto)

    Game 3: Friday, Oct. 30th at Citi Field, 5:07 PT (Syndergaard vs. Ventura)

    Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 31st at Citi Field, 5:07 PT (Matz vs. Young)

    Game 5: Sunday, Nov. 1st at Citi Field, 5:15 PT (Harvey vs. Volquez)*

    Game 6: Tuesday, Nov. 3rd at Kauffman Field, 5:07 PT (deGrom vs. Cueto)*

    Game 7: Wednesday, Nov. 4th at Kauffman Stadium, 5:07 PT (Syndergaard vs. Ventura)*

    *if necessary