Monday, October 26, 2015

World Series Primer: They'll Never Be Royal

The Major League Postseason is quickly coming to a close, and we now have entered World Series territory. With the Kansas City Royals outlasting the Toronto Blue Jays, they will meet the New York Mets fresh off a sweep of the Chicago Cubs. Two contrasting clubs go at it with a ring on the line for only one of them. Now, who comes out on top?

For the Mets, the advantage starts on the bump. Throwing Matt Harvey in game one is a nice start, but following him up with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz is what really makes the difference. Utilizing a four man rotation compiled of top-of-the-rotation talent puts the Royals up against a tough task. There's no doubt that the starting rotation for the Mets will pace them in the series.

On the offensive side for New York, it's the tale of two seasons. A competitive club through the first half, it was the second half addition of Yoenis Cespedes that brought them to a new level. Combine Cespedes' bat with the explosion that has been Daniel Murphy in the playoffs, and the Mets have a lethal run producing lineup. For all of the Mets positives though, this is uncharted territory from the team hailing from Citi Field.

Owning home field advantage and one of the best records in baseball, the Royals are back where their season ended a year ago. After falling to the San Francisco Giants a season ago, Kansas City is looking to end 2015 on a better note. While the pitching matchups to start the game are definitely not in their favor, Ned Yost's squad won't take leading games lightly.

If it's the Mets rotation that looms large, it's the Royals bullpen that does the same. Following a starter, opposing hitters know they have the combination of Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Wade Davis to look forward to. All but guaranteeing a lead stays in tact after the 7th inning, Kansas City is able to significantly shorten a game.

Offensively, the Royals are nothing to scoff at either. Despite not playing the Mets this season, the Royals owned a +83 run differential (as opposed to the Mets +70). Paced by established youth such as Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Salvador Perez, the Royals talent has been battle tested in this same situation. With the benefit of home field advantage, the Royals also have a 51-30 record on their side at The K during the regular season. Unfortunately for the Mets, they could muster only one game above .500 (41-40) on the road.

Looking at the series from a top down view, it's pretty hard to suggest either team has a substantial advantage. With the extra days rest, it's worth wondering whether or not the Mets bats will have cooled some. The Royals have to wonder what Johnny Cueto will show up. Both teams will be looking to steal at least one contest on the road (I don't see this going seven). By almost any measurement, this season's fall classic looks to be very even.

With that all in mind, give me the American League and AL Central Kansas City Royals. While there's no doubt the Mets pitching is going to be tough to beat up, Kansas City is a year removed from being in this same spot. Knowing the agony of defeat, you can bet the group composed of much of the same players will be looking to taste victory this time around. We're in for a good one, but Kansas City wins their first World Series since 1985 by a series tally of 4-2.

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