The Kansas City Royals were one game away from winning the World Series last season. The New York Mets haven’t been here in 15 years, but with a combination of the hottest bat in the land and excellent starting pitching, they feel confident that they won’t leave empty handed this time.
Matt Harvey will start for the Mets, looking great in his two postseason appearances, with two wins and a 2.84 ERA. He last played on October 17, a great 7.2 innings performance with just four hits allowed and two runs off of him in the win against the Chicago Cubs. The interesting thing is that he’s facing only one batter he has previously pitched to: Alex Rios, who went 1-for-3 with one strikeout when the two previously met.
For the Royals it’ll be Edinson Volquez on the mound, with the 32-year old not looking great in the postseason. He is 1-2 in three starts with a 4.32 ERA, giving up five runs in five innings on his last start in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Volquez has allowed .270 against the batters he’s going to face for his career, but hasn’t given up a single home run to any of them, which is one of the only positives going into this game as far as the Royals are concerned about pitching.
But it’s going to be interesting if the Mets can slow down another great hitting team. The Royals have 15 home runs in this postseason (the Mets aren’t far behind with 14) but the Royals are also hitting .271, the best in the postseason, leading the majors in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS. The Mets get on base at a .300 rate (fourth in the postseason), but their OPS is second-best in the playoffs so far.
But the Mets do have Daniel Murphy, with 7 home runs in 38 at bats with an impressive 1.462 OPS. The best the Royals have to offer in that department are Alcides Escobar (no home runs, 5 RBIs, .954 OPS) and Ben Zobrist (two home runs, .933 OPS), but overall as a team the Royals have been much more difficult to get around.
The Royals still have the ghosts of last season haunting them, losing game 7 at home, with the potential tying run 90 feet from home plate. But despite their win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, it seems that the hotter, more cohesive team right now are the Mets, coming in with that special kind of momentum that often turns into an actual difference makers in the playoffs, lasting until the World Series this time.