New York Mets (-115, 7.5 o/u) at Kansas City Royals (-105)
The Kansas City Royals were motivated all season by the heart-breaking end to last year’s World Series. They were 90 feet away from tying Game 7 against the Giants, but fell short. After 162 games and a stressful playoff run, they now have a second chance to end their 30-year championship drought against a New York Mets team that is looking for their first title in 29 years.
The final series of the season will get underway tomorrow night at Kauffman Stadium (8:07 PM Eastern) with Matt Harvey (2-0, 2.84 ERA) throwing for the Mets and Edinson Volquez (1-2, 4.32 ERA) going for the home side.
Volquez is one of a few key contributors the Royals didn’t have at their disposal last postseason. Along with the hard throwing righty, Kansas City now has the powerful switch-hitting bats of Kendrys Morales and Ben Zobrist. The emphasis on switch hitters comes after being dominated by the left-handed Madison Bumgarner last playoffs. This time around, the Royals’ order is better equipped to hit either type of pitcher they encounter, and darn-it if they won’t hit it well!
Kansas City makes good contact, puts the ball in play, and takes fewer strikeouts than any team in baseball. They lead the postseason with 99 hits and a .271 team average. But they’re taking on the best pitching team in the bigs, top-to-bottom. The Mets, who dominated the powerful Cubs in the NLCS, have a team ERA of just 2.81 through nine playoff games. Something will have to give, strikeout-wise, as the New York staff is striking out ten batters per game, while KC’s order is averaging just six Ks per nine.
Innings-limit jokes aside, Harvey has been good these playoffs. But he’s also had some quality run support from a New York offense that really took off in the second half of the season. Daniel Murphy has been un-explainable this October, hitting home runs every time he touches the ball (seemingly). But he’s not the only bat going in the Mets’ lineup, with the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Travis d’Arnaud, and Curtis Granderson all have solid postseasons, as well. Overall, the Mets have enough power to take advantage of some uninspiring starting pitching from the Royals.
If they can’t capitalize in the first six innings, though, they will be in trouble to pull out wins. The Royals bullpen trio of Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera, and Wade Davis has been dominant through the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
These two teams never met during the regular season, so there isn’t much recent history to go on. But, on paper, this looks like a series the Mets can pull out as long as the nearly week-long break from the end of the NLCS doesn’t cool their hot bats.
National League teams have also won six of the least seven World Series Game 1s. I like the Mets to continue that trend.
Pick: Mets (-115).
(Photo Credit: slgckgc (Uploaded to Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/])
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