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2015 MLB Playoffs- World Series Preview - This Is Sports Zone

THE TEAMS- New York Mets (90-72, NL East Champs, def. Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs for NL Pennant) vs. Kansas City Royals (95-67, AL Central Champs, def. Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays for AL Pennant)


Game 1- Tuesday, October 27, 8:05 PM, Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71, 1.02 188 Ks, 2-0 in playoffs w/2.84 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16 Ks) vs. Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 155 Strikeouts, 1-2 in playoffs w/44.32 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 15 Ks)
Game 2- Wednesday, October 28, 8:05 PM, Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA, 0.98, 205 Ks, 3-0, in playoffs w/1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 27 Ks) vs. Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 176 Strikeouts, 4-7 w/Royals, 1-1 in playoffs w/7.88 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 15 Ks)
Game 3- Friday, October 30, 8:05 PM, Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 156 Strikeouts, 0-1 in playoffs w/5.09 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 21 Ks) vs. Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24, 1.05 166 Ks, 1-1 in playoffs w/2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 20 Ks)
Game 4- Saturday, October 31, 8:05 PM, Chris Young (11-6, 3.06 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 83 Strikeouts, 0-0 in playoffs w/3.12 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 11 Ks) vs. Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27, 1.23, 34 Ks, 0-1 in playoffs w/3.72 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 8 Ks)
Game 5 (if necessary)- Sunday, November 1, 8:05 PM, Volquez vs. Harvey
Game 6 (if necessary)- Tuesday, November 3, 8:05 PM, deGrom vs. Cueto
Game 7 (if necessary)- Wednesday, November 4, 8:05 PM, Syndergaard vs. Ventura

This is a matchup of two of the bigger underdog teams of the last 30 years. The Royals are in the World Series for the second consecutive season, before which they had not made the postseason since their last championship in 1985. The Mets are in the World Series for the first time since 2000, having not won a championship since 1986. Both teams seemed unlikely to be here when the season began in April, but the Royals were powered by a lineup full of speed, timely hitting and great defense to go with one of the best bullpens in baseball, while the Mets are fueled by a collection of some of the best young pitchers in the game, to go with a lineup that was jump-started by quality moves at the trade deadline, and the return of some of its best players from injury. Their road through the playoffs was led by unlikely heroes on both sides, as NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy took his team on his back and exploded for seven home runs in nine games, including a Major League record six straight games with a homer, in addition to his improved base running and defensive ability. For the Royals, ALCS MVP Alcides Escobar set a postseason record by getting a leadoff hit in the first four games of the ALCS, and joined Dustin Pedroia as the only hitters with at least 10 hits and five RBIs from the leadoff spot in a LCS. Each team has a different pitching strength, as the Mets collection of starters, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, gave up only 16 runs in 55.1 innings while striking out 71 batters, while the Royals are led by their bullpen, which gave up only 12 runs in 36 innings, and has one of best 8-9 innings combos in baseball with Kelvin Herrara and Wade Davis, who have combined for 26 strikeouts in 15.1 innings and given up only one run between the two of them. The Mets bullpen has been helped by the presence of converted starters Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese, while also having a shutdown closer in Jeurys Familia, who has yet to give up a run through eight postseason games.

The Royals main key to victory will be to attack the Mets’ young starters, who have delivered 5752 pitches at over 95 miles per hour this season, the most in the majors. Their lineup, led by Lorenzo Cain, Escobar, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, Alex Rios, Salvador Perez, and Kendry Morales, has struck out the fewest times of any team in the majors, had the highest contact rate in baseball, and hit a major-league best .300 on fastballs 95 mph or higher. The Mets will also have to deal with the basevrunning prowess of Cain, Escobar, and pinch runners Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore, who figure to be utilized later in games. The big question for the Royals is which Johnny Cueto will appear- the one who gave up only two runs in eight innings in game five of the ALDS, or the one who gave up eight runs in two innings in game three of the ALCS and has mostly been a disappointment for Kansas City since he was acquired in July?

For the Mets, this will be the biggest test its young rotation and closer has ever faced, against a lineup much more seasoned and ready for the big stage than it has faced thus far. Harvey, who traditionally has faltered on extended rest, will start the first game, putting him position to pitch the fifth and come out of the bullpen in game seven if needed while deGrom, who battled through tough first innings in his last two starts will pitch the second and six games. The Mets will need each of them to pitch deep and effectively throughout, as the Royals have a habit of late inning comebacks, and both Harvey and game three starter Syndergaard have shown a propensity for tiring later in games this season. The Mets lineup will hope that Murphy and Curtis Granderson continue their hot hitting, in addition to believing that Lucas Duda and David Wright have finally moved past their extended slumps during the postseason. Duda was the star of game four of the NLCS with five RBIs on a first inning home run and two doubles, while Wright had hits in each of the series’ final three games. Yeonis Cespedes, the offensive catalyst since his arrival from Detroit, should be healthy after a sore shoulder saw him receive a cortisone shot on Friday. The big key for the Mets offense will be to score early and often against the shaky trio of Ventura, Cueto, and Volquez, as manager Ned Yost will not hesitate to dip into his deep bullpen if needed. All three starters have been brilliant at times, but all three are beatable, as Ventura’s sophomore season has been plagued with inconsistencies, and both Cueto and Volquez have over four ERAs against the Mets from their days in the National League.

This series figures to be a battle of epic proportions, and a true showcase of the best Major League Baseball has to offer. Whoever wins, it will be a great series to watch.


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