Mets vs Royals
And then there were two.
The New York Mets will face the Kansas City Royals in the World Series starting Tuesday evening, with Matt Harvey set to square off against Edinson Volquez in Game 1. The Mets will follow with Jacob DeGromm, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, while the Royals will use Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young to round out their rotation.
Some of the story lines worth following will be if Daniel Murphy will suffer any ill effects from his long layoff between series after briefly turning into Babe Ruth and setting the record for most games in a row with a home run in the playoffs. If Murphy’s home run streak continues, good luck to the Royals stopping the Mets in this series. Kansas City is fresh off of beating the best team in baseball (by run differential) this season thanks in part to their contact-oriented offense, great defense and baserunning like this. There have been some great pieces surfacing lately on contact-hitting teams faring better in the playoffs, especially against power pitchers, but most have focused on how the Royals have done against pure velocity (very well). However, these Mets starters (and back-end relievers) are much more than just pure power. What makes the Mets starters of Harvey, DeGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz so good is not just that they throw hard, but they have the ability to locate and control both their fastballs and their secondary pitches. It will be interesting to see if the Mets will use a counter strategy such as throwing more balls out of the strike zone against a Royals team that puts the ball in play so often and doesn’t take many walks.
To top that all off, we have the designated hitter rule making an impact in this interleague series. The Royals have employed Kendrys Morales at that position all year long, but considering that they would need to bench Eric Hosmer or play him in the outfield to keep Morales in the starting lineup, he will likely be relegated to bench duty for the three games in New York. The Mets don’t have a pure designated hitter either, with Juan Uribe or Kelly Johnson as possibilities. They could also help their defense by starting Juan Lagares in center, shifting Yoenis Cespedes to Left and putting Conforto or Cuddyer in the lineup without risking their gloves in the outfield. Cespedes has also been a question mark heading into this series, after injuring himself in an off-field golfing incident. But he says he will be ready to go in this series, we’ll see if that is the case.
So add that all together and what do we get? Well, predictions are hard in any sport, but in a seven game, winner-take-all baseball series they are pretty much impossible. With that being said my prediction is…Mets in 6 games.