Another baseball season is coming to an end. Here is my breakdown of this year’s World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals.
Hitting: Kansas City was unquestionably the stronger offensive team in the regular season. The Royals had the third highest team batting average in the majors at .269. The Mets were 28th in batting in the regular season. Kansas City finished seventh in runs scored while the Mets were 17th. But none of that really matters right now. In the playoffs, it’s all about timely hitting and the Mets have been getting plenty of that particularly from second baseman Daniel Murphy and the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline gave the Mets lineup some much needed pop in the lineup. However, the Royals have been equally as capapable offensively in the postseason as they were in the regular season having scored 63 runs in 11 postseason games and hitting .271 collecitvely in the playoffs. With Kansas City, there may not be that one imposing bat, but if you include last postseason, whether it’s Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, or really anyone in the lineup, many players are capable of getting a clutch hit.
Pitching: This might seem obvious. But it’s not. Yes, Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard have been terrific for New York. Steven Matz has been more than adequate as a four man in the postseason. Jeurys Familia is perfect on five save opportunities thus far in October. The one weakness for the Mets when it comes to pitching is their middle relief but with the starters going at least six innings seemingly every night, they’ve been able to get away with it, and I wouldn’t expect that to change now. But, the Roylas pitchers are capable of matching the Mets starters pitch for pitch. Edinson Volquez proved his worth in the opening game of the ALCS against a lethal Toronto lineup. Johnny Cueto has won two of his three postseason starts and was the Royals primary target at the trade deadline for this very reason. Yordano Ventura has won all three of his postseason starts and has not allowed more than three runs in the process. Wade Davis has filled in admirably as the closer since Greg Holland was lost for the season. This is closer than you think.
Intagibles: The Mets have been playing with house money this offseason and we’ve seen where that’s gotten them. In a sense, New York’s run to the Fall Classic is similar to Kansas City’s last year. The Royals weren’t expected to contend for a championship last season, much less a playoff spot, won a crazy wild card game against Oakland and took off them there all the way to game seven of the World Series where they ran into Madison Bumgarner. Most experts took the Washington Nationals in the NL East this year and many believed the Nationals could be the team representating the National League in the World Series. Yet, here are the Mets, four wins away from their third World Series title in franchise history and first in 29 years. For once, there are expectations for Kansas City. The Royals nearly bowed out in the ALDS as Houston blew a four-run lead in the eighth inning up two games to one on the defending American League champions. Can the Royals prove to just be the better team the way they did in the ALCS against Toronto or will the Mets run of destiny continue? The ladder seems more likely.
Prediction: Mets in 6