The Mets will travel to Kansas City on Tuesday to take on the Royals in Game 1 of the World Series.
The Mets looked dominant in the NL Championship Series, sweeping the Cubs in four games and outscoring Chicago by an impressive total of 21-8 in those contests. New York’s starting pitching was ridiculous in that series and will need to be excellent once again against a Royals team that flat out knows how to hit. Kansas City defeated Toronto in six games in the AL Championship Series. The Royals scored five or more runs in four of the six games against the Blue Jays, but it will be tougher to hit against a Mets rotation that is far superior to that of Toronto.
The starters in this Game 1 meeting are going to be RHP Matt Harvey (15-8, 2.85 ERA, 204 K) for the Mets and RHP Edinson Volquez (14-11, 3.68 ERA, 167 K) for the Royals. New York is 25-9 against the money line on the road with a money line of -100 to -150 this season. Kansas City, however, is 31-14 against the money line when playing at home with a money line of +125 to -125 this season. Something will have to give for one of the two teams, but those siding with the Royals can also point out that the team is 9-0 against the money line at home with a money line of -100 to -150 when Volquez is on the mound this year.
OF Yoenis Cespedes (Shoulder) is probable in this game for the Mets, who are without SS Ruben Tejada (Knee) for the rest of the year. The Royals, meanwhile, are at close to full strength heading into this series.
The Mets didn’t face much of a challenge last round against a Cubs team that just didn’t look like it was ready to do what it takes to make it to the World Series. New York swept Chicago in the series and earned some more rest heading into this Game 1 matchup. Matt Harvey will be toeing the rubber for the Mets and he was excellent in his last start for New York. He went 7.2 innings and gave up just two earned runs while striking out nine in his only appearance against the Cubs last series. It was the first time he’s pitched into the seventh inning in a start since Aug. 11 and the Mets would love it if he can work deep into this one.
Three players to watch in the Mets lineup coming into this game are 2B Daniel Murphy (.421, 7 HR, 11 RBI in playoffs), 3B David Wright (.167, 0 HR, 3 RBI in playoffs) and 1B Lucas Duda (.214, 1 HR, 6 RBI in playoffs). Murphy has been the playoff hero for New York and he has now homered in six straight games. Murphy has gotten two or more hits in four of the past five games as well. Duda, meanwhile, came up huge in Game 4 for the Mets, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a homer and five RBI. He had gotten just one hit in his previous four games played and will need to be a bit more consistent in this series. David Wright, however, has not been contributing offensively for the Mets. He has really been slumping and the team needs him to turn things around on Tuesday.
People keep doubting the Royals’ style of play, but the team does nothing but win games and is now playing in its second consecutive World Series. Edinson Volquez will be starting Game 1 for Kansas City and fortunately for the team he will be starting at home. Volquez pitched six innings of shutout baseball in his only home start in this postseason, but has allowed eight earned runs in 10.2 innings of work on the road. He will need to come through with a quality start on Tuesday, as he is going to be going up against one of the Mets’ many dominant rotation arms.
SS Alcides Escobar (.386, 0 HR, 5 RBI in playoffs) is one of the bats to watch coming into this series for Kansas City. Escobar was the MVP of the ALCS for the Royals and comes into this contest after getting a hit in every single playoff game so far. He’ll need to keep it up if this Royals team is going to change the ending of last season’s World Series defeat. OF Lorenzo Cain (.275, 1 HR, 7 RBI in playoffs) and 1B Eric Hosmer (.222, 1 HR, 11 RBI in playoffs) will also need to come to hit in this series. Both guys are not hitting nearly as well as they did in the regular season and will need to be able to consistently produce at the plate against this Mets rotation.