The 2015 World Series is set and ready to begin tonight. The KC Royals, champs of the American League, will face off against the NY Mets, champs of the National League. The Royals return to the World Series for the second straight year, hoping for a different outcome. The Mets have not been to the World Series since 2000. Neither team has won a title in a LONG time (1985 for the Royals and 1986 for the Mets).
- Here is the best-of-seven World Series schedule (all games at 8pm ET on FOX):
Game 1: tonight at Kauffman Stadium, Edinson Volquez vs Matt Harvey
Game 2: Wednesday, October 28th at Kauffman Stadium, Johnny Cueto vs Jacob deGrom
Game 3: Friday, October 30th at Citi Field, Noah Syndergaard vs Yordano Ventura
Game 4: Saturday, October 31st at Citi Field, Steven Matz vs Chris Young
Game 5*: Sunday, November 1st at Citi Field
Game 6*: Tuesday, November 3rd at Kauffman Stadium
Game 7*: Wednesday, November 4th at Kauffman Stadium
While the Mets rotation is young and talented (and hard throwing), the Royals is a veteran core of new blood (only Ventura is back from last season). The Mets rotation dominated its opponents so far in the postseason, while the Royals rotation has had its struggles (averaging just five innings per start).
Matt Harvey is 2-0 in two playoff starts with a 2.84 ERA. Over 12.2 innings, he allowed five runs (four earned) on 11 hits (one homer) and and four walks while striking out 16. Noah Syndergaard is 1-1 in three appearances (two starts). Over 13 innings, he allowed four runs on eight hits and six walks while striking out 20. More on deGrom and Matz later.
The Mets offense has struck out 94 times during the postseason, compared to just 26 walks. They have hit 13 doubles and 14 home runs, while stealing nine bases (compared to two caught stealings). The Mets have scored 43 runs in nine games.
The Mets have three left-handed hitters in their regular lineup (Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy, and Lucas Duda) along with outfielder (and rookie) Michael Conforto, fellow outfielder Kirk Niewenhuis, and veteran Kelly Johnson. Johnson was named the DH for Game 1. The Royals have just two lefty relievers (Danny Duffy and Franklin Morales) and zero starters. Manager Ned Yost only went to Morales in the postseason in blowout games (two), despite his stellar pitching in the regular season.
The Royals offense has hit .284 against pitchers who throw 95+mph, which is virtually the entire Mets rotation and most of its bullpen. The Royals have struck out the fewest and nothing has changed in the playoffs (71 times). They have also walked the fewest and have walked just 27 times in 11 postseason games. They have hit 16 doubles and 15 home runs, but have stolen seven bases (compared to three caught stealings).
The Royals have three left-handers in their regular lineup (Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon), along with switch-hitters Ben Zobrist and Kendrys Morales. The Mets have just two lefty relievers (converted starter Jon Niese and rookie Sean Gilmartin, who has not pitched so far this postseason) and one starter (Matz).
Since the Mets and Royals did not face each other during the 2015 season, I wanted to take a look at who’s hot and who’s not heading into the World Series.
- NLCS MVP and second baseman Daniel Murphy: six straight games with a homer (and seven total). 16-for-38 (.421) with two doubles and 11 RBIs
- Outfielder Curtis Granderson: 10-for-33 with two doubles, seven RBIs, four stolen bases, and five walks compared to five strikeouts
- Outfielder Juan Lagares: 5-for-13 with two doubles
- Game 2 starter Jacob deGrom: 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA. 20IP, 15H, 4R, 2HR, 5BB, 27K
- Closer Jeurys Familia: eight games and 5-for-5 in save opportunities. 9.2IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 6K
- Reliever Addison Reed: four games, 3.1IP, 2H, R, 0BB, 2K
- Veteran Bartolo Colon: last two games-3.1IP, H, 0R, BB, 3K
Who’s NOT for the NY Mets:
- Captain and third baseman David Wright: 5-for-30 with nine walks and 12 strikeouts
- First baseman Lucas Duda: 6-for-28 with two doubles, a homer, three walks, and 13 strikeouts
- Catcher Travis d’Arnaud: 7-for-34 with three homers, six RBIs, zero walks, and 13 strikeouts
- Setup man Tyler Clippard: five games, 4.2IP, 6H, 3R, HR, 0BB, 2K
- Game 4 starter Steven Matz: two starts, 9.2IP, 10H, 4R, 4BB, 8K
- ALCS MVP Alcides Escobar: 17-for-44 (.386) with three doubles, two triples, nine runs scored, five RBIs, and six strikeouts
- Second baseman Ben Zobrist: 14-for-43 with four doubles, two homers, ten runs scored, six RBI, four walks, and four strikeouts
- Right fielder Alex Rios: 11-for-33 with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored, five RBIs, three walks, and eight strikeouts
- Closer Wade Davis: five games and 3-for-3 in save opportunities. 6.2IP, 3H, 0R, 3BB, 10K
- Setup man Kelvin Herrera: eight games, 8.2IP, 6H, R, 2BB, 16K
- Luke Hochevar: five games, 5.2IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
- Game 4 starter Chris Young: two games (one start), 8.2IP, 6H, 3R, HR, 4BB, 11K
Who’s NOT for the Royals:
- Catcher Salvador Perez: 7-for-36 with four homers, six RBIs, three walks, and seven strikeouts
- Third baseman Mike Moustakas: 7-for-42 with a double, a home run, five RBIs, two walks, and seven strikeouts
- Left fielder Alex Gordon: 9-for-36 with three doubles, a homer, three RBIs, three walks, and ten strikeouts
- Ryan Madson: six games and an 8.44ERA. 5.1IP, 10H, 5R, 4HR, 2BB, 10K
- Game 2 starter Johnny Cueto: three starts, 16IP, 15H, 14R, 3HR, 7BB, 15K
- Lefty Danny Duffy: three games, 3.2IP, 5H, 3R, HR, 0BB, 6K
- Game 3 starter Yordano Ventura: four starts, 17.2IP, 20H, 10R, 3HR, 8BB, 21K
The in-between for the Royals:
- First baseman Eric Hosmer is just 10-for-45 with a double and a home run, but he has scored seven runs and driven in 11.
- Game 1 starter Edinson Volquez: three starts, 16.2IP, 10H, 8R, HR, HBP, 12BB, 15K. He allowed five runs on three hits and four walks over five innings in his last start against Toronto.
There are a few players who faced their opponent in 2015. Like Cueto, who pitched against the Mets as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Curtis Granderson and Kelly Johnson both hit home runs off him. Lucas Duda struck out twice and Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Cespedes is the one Met who faced the Royals in 2015, though as a member of the Detroit Tigers. He went 1-for-1 with a double against Davis. He went 1-for-3 against Volquez. However, Cespedes went 0-for-3 against Madson, Duffy, and Ventura. Madson and Duffy both struck him out. Young held him to 0-for-4 with a strikeout and Hochevar held him to 0-for-1.
Jonny Gomes, who I see being added to the World Series roster in place of either Jarrod Dyson or Terrance Gore, could be used as a pinch-hitter. Gomes went 2-for-8 with a solo home run and three runs scored against Colon, who is being used as a reliever. Colon did strike him out twice.
I do not see Gomes pinch-hitting against Familia, who struck him out in two at-bats. Against lefty Jon Niese, who is being used as a reliever, Gomes went 1-for-2 with an RBI, a run scored, and three walks.
UPDATE: Apparently, third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and infielder Raul Mondesi were at workouts yesterday at the K. One is expected to be added in place of Gore, meaning Gomes will probably once again be left off the roster. That would be one memorable big league debut for Mondesi. Zobrist’s wife is expecting, so that would be a HUGE loss to the Royals.
This should be a really good World Series, both with long-suffering franchises. I think it will come down to whose starting rotation goes deeper into games. The middle relief for both teams hasn’t been great, with the Mets having more holes outside of Familia.