The 2015 World Series features two teams who haven’t won the Fall Classic in 3 decades, the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals. It was 1985 when George Brett led the Royals to their last World Series win, and the Mets dramatically defeated the Boston Red Sox in 1986 when Boston’s Bill Buckner let a Mookie Wilson ground ball roll through his legs to let the winning run score for the last Series win for the Mets. Both teams have made 4 World Series appearances.
This season, the Mets were an average team the first half of the year and surprised fans by becoming a very good team the second half. Kansas City made it to the World Series last year only to lose in Game 7 at home to the San Francisco Giants. They have continued to be good this season with the best record in the American League.
The strength of this year’s New York Mets is their starting pitching. Jacob deGrom is the lead pitcher in their rotation. His record for the season is 14-8 with an ERA of 2.54. He mixes a 94 mph fastball with an effective changeup. Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard are the next 2 in the rotation and there’s barely any drop off. “The Dark Knight”, Harvey’s nickname bestowed upon him by Sports Illustrated, also throws 94 mph and brings a 2.71 ERA to the mound. He is scheduled to start Game 1. These guys dominated the Divisional and League Championship Series against the Dodgers and Cubs in leading the Mets’ pitching staff to a 2.81 ERA in the nine playoff games to get their team to the World Series.
The Royals led the major leagues in hitting pitches of 95 mph and faster while the Mets threw the most of those pitches. On the season, the Royals hitting wasn’t spectacular but what they are good at doing is batting against the best pitchers and not striking out. They had the fewest strikeouts in baseball and were second in the American League in stealing bases. The Royals are excellent at manufacturing the runs needed to win a tight series in the playoffs against a good team.
Kansas City’s weakness is the starting pitching. Yordano Ventura had a good game against the Toronto Blue Jays to clinch the series but was not so good in his previous playoff starts. Johnny Cueto has a a 6.82 ERA in his last 12 starts of the season and Edison Volquez and Chris Young are good pitchers but can’t be counted on to dominate hitters. They’ve all shown the ability to come up with clutch performances in the playoffs and will need to exceed expectations against the Mets. The key for the Royals will be to keep the games close until the late innings as the Kansas City bullpen is the best in the American League this season with a 2.72 ERA.
The Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy, hit home runs in six consecutive games in this postseason to lead the Mets to scoring 4.8 runs a game against the Dodgers and Cubs. Lucas Duda hit 27 home runs with 73 RBI’s and an on-base percentage of .352 for the Mets. Lorenzo Cain leads the Royals with a .307 batting average and Kendrys Morales drove in 106 runs with 22 home runs for the season.
The Vegas odds have the Series rated as even. Some bookies have one or the other team as the slight flavorite and baseball fans are looking forward to a close and hotly contested World Series.
The first two games of the World Series will be played in Kansas City on Tuesday, October 27, and Wednesday, October 28. The Series then moves to New York for games 3 through 5 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Oct. 30 – Nov. 1). The schedule resumes in Kansas City on the next Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4), for games 6 and 7 if needed. The city whose team is the first to win four games will celebrate the 2015 World Series Championship.