So it’s the Mets vs. the Royals in the World Series. A 29 year drought against a 30 year drought. Mr. Met vs. Sluggerrr. Bridges vs. fountains.
Both fan bases are thirsty for a championship.
This is going to be a very different series for the Mets. Unlike the Dodgers, who were built upon two aces and get through them there was nothing. And unlike the Cubs, who were very young and prone to strike out, the Royals are built on contact hitting . They move runners along and play excellent defense.
Plus they are relentless and with an extremely tough bullpen, they always feel they are in games. Case in point, Game 6 last night.
“This club has a lot of determination,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “We’re facing the Toronto Blue Jays. They’re dangerous in so many ways. You come into this game, you know you’re hoping that your starter can get you through five, and (Yordano) Ventura did that. He started to labor a little bit at that point. Brought in Herrera, and he did a great job shutting down the offense.
“We scored two runs on two hits. We couldn’t bunch together any offense against him. But it was a huge hit that (Alex) Rios got. Again, what a great Postseason he’s had. And now get to play in his first World Series. But our guys just, from the first day of Spring Training their focus was to get back to the World Series and they accomplished that tonight.”
It’s going to be tough for the Mets starters, since they won’t be able to rely on the fastball to get outs. The Royals led all of baseball with a .297 average against fastballs that are over 95 M.P.H. while the Mets throw the most pitches by a wide margin of most hits over 95.
But as we saw in the Cubs series, these Met starters are relying more on their secondary pitches. To beat the Royals, they will need the off-speed pitches to set up the fastball. They have to keep Kansas City off balance, because any mistake over the plate will be punished by the lineup.
Now for the good news, the Royals starting rotation is not as strong as either the Dodgers or Cubs. Their top two starters Edinson Volquez and Ventura have been inconsistent and can be hit, while Johnny Cueto has been very hittable and former Met Chris Young needs to have pinpoint control to get outs.
The Mets will have a huge advantage on the mound. They will need to jump out to leads and hold them, because the Royal bullpen is tough. Unlike the Mets, they have a solid lineup of relievers that can bridge the gap to closer Wade Davis. So if New York is expecting seven or eight innings from its starters, Kansas City can enjoy five or six.
“Our club does not mind being tied late, because they know that our bullpen is strong, and they know that our bullpen will hold the fort until we can score a run,” Yost said.
You also have to wonder about the time off. There’s no doubt rest will help the pitching, but the batters can go cold. They may not be as sharp in a Game 1, which may put the Mets in a quick hole.
The bottom line is that this will be a very interesting series. KC has unfinished business, losing the Series last year against the Giants .
“Kansas City has a lot of confidence,” said Mets utility infielder Kelly Johnson, who was part of the Orioles last season, which was swept in the ALDS in by the Royals. “They think they are going to win. They have done it two years in a row. That lineup has a lot of power. They also don’ give in. They fight off a lot of pitches.”
Game 1 is Tuesday in Kansas City. It’s going to be a very intriguing week and a half.