On March, 31, 2015, the MLB season began. After a grueling 162-game marathon, only 10 teams were left to play in the fabled October MLB playoffs. Now as we reach to the end, only two teams remain to compete for baseball immortality: The World Series.
On one side, you have the Kansas City Royals -- a team who has already been to the top but fell short of the goal. On the other, you have the New York Mets -- a team filled with raw emotion and excitement for their first playoff berth in nearly 10 years.
During the regular season, the Mets and Royals have faced off against one another just 9 games (Royals lead the series 5-4). The last time they faced one another was during a 3-game weekend series in August (August 2-4 to be precise) during the 2013 MLB season. The Royals took the series two games to one, outscoring the Mets 15 to 9.
With the upcoming World Series, this will be the first time that these two teams have faced each other in the postseason.
Now let’s take a look at the two teams who are playing in the fall classic and get to know them a little bette.
Kansas City Royals
Aside from the new additions this year (i.e. Ben Zobrist, Alex Rios, Johnny Cueto), the Kansas City Royals roster is still intact from last year’s World Series run. This year, they exploded out of the gates to take the AL Central with an impressive 95-67 record. During the season, the only time the Royals ever trailed in the division was back on June 7 where they were 1.0 game back of the Minnesota Twins. After sweeping the Twins in an early week matchup, the Royals took first place and never looked back.
The reason for their successful 2015 regular season game is because of their clean, disciplined style of hitting. They are tied for second in MLB with team batting average of .269 and second in MLB in hits with 1,497. The Royals batters won’t wow you with their power (only 139 home runs this season), but they have the ability to score runs (7th in MLB with 724). In the postseason, the Royals were able to ramp up their productivity at the plate. They lead all teams in batting average (.271), runs scored (63), RBIs (58), OBP (.328), and SLG (.449).
However their pitching staff is something isn’t what one would call ‘worldly.’ During the season they were 10th in team ERA (3.73), 13th in hits allowed (1372) and WHIP (1.28), 20th in walks, and 22nd in strikeouts (1160). However the Royals are 3rd in saves (56), which translates to when the Royals have the lead in the 9th inning, it’s not looking too good for the other team.
New York Mets
At the beginning of the year, the Mets exploded and surpassed the heavily-favorite Washington Nationals to gain the NL East divisional lead. But then things started to fall apart as the Mets dipped into second place behind the Nationals, hanging around but not quite surpassing their rivals. At 52-50 at the trade deadline, the Mets made some big time moves. They traded for INFs Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe before the deadline, RP Tyler Clippard and OF Yoan Cespedes at the deadline, and called ups minor leaguers likes of SP Noah Syndergaard, Steve Matz, and Michael Conforto.
Top it all off with the arrival of long time captain David Wright off the DL, it was the shot in the arm the Mets severely needed to wake them up. With that, the rejuvenated Mets began to heat up. They went 38-22 for the rest of the way (including 20-8 in August) for a postseason berth for the first time since 2006.
The secret to the Mets was not their bats so-to-speak (.244 team batting average, tied for 27th in baseball) but rather with the emergence of their young pitching staff. Lead by Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom, the Mets pitchers posted a 3.43 team ERA, 4th best in baseball this season. They were also 6th in strikeouts (1341), 2nd in walks allowed (383), 5th in saves (50), and tied for 2nd with the Los Angeles Dodgers in WHIP (1.18).
In the postseason, the Mets got a little creative with their pitchers. They went with a 4-man rotation of Harvey-DeGrom-Syndergaard-Matz and moved starters Bartolo Colon and Johnathon Niese into the bullpen. With that tinkering, the Mets boast the strongest pitching staff & bullpen of all the playoff teams, placing 3rd in strikeouts induced (91) as well as leading all playoff teams in ERA (2.81) and saves (5), and placing 2nd in WHIP (1.04).
It’ll be interesting to see how this series will be played out. Will the Mets be lead to victory on the arms of their young pitchers or will the seasoned Royals smack the ball all over the field to stack up the runs? Judging how each team has played, the fiery streaks they’ve been on, the tough competition they sloshed through to get to this point it could go either way. Though I won’t making any predictions on who will win I only have two predictions: 1. It will go all the way to 7 games and 2. It will come down to the wire in each match up. So baseball fans get ready for a World Series you will never forget.
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