The Premature Royals-Mets World Series Preview

Down 0-3, the Cubs are on the verge of being swept by the New York Mets.

Meanwhile, in the American League, the Kansas City Royals are just one win away from their first back-to-back pennants in team history.

Barring a miracle (only once in MLB history has a team come back being down 0-3 and a small handful have come back down 1-3), there’s an almost 100 percent chance we’re looking at a Mets vs. Royals World Series. 

Astounding.

It’s not too shocking to see the Royals in the Series yet again after losing to the Giants in seven games last year. But the Mets? A team that was two games above .500 just three months ago and has a rotation with an average age of 25 could really go all the way?

But they’re for real. All because of their pitching.

When your starters have lights out stuff, it doesn’t matter if half of them can’t legally rent a car. They’re getting outs. And it’s the only reason the Mets have a legitimate shot.

The Metropolitans might have the greatest assembly of youthful, electric arms in recent memory. With Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, the starting rotation boasts an average fastball of 95 mph. 

Then there’s second-baseman Daniel Murphy, who is obliterating the baseball in historic fashion, becoming the first second-baseman in post-season history to hit five home runs in five games.

So how will the Royals stack up?

Their bats are even stronger. Four of the top six players with the most hits this post-season are Royals players: Alcides Escobar, Ben Zobrist, Kendrys Morales and Lorenzo Cain.

However, it’s the Royals starting rotation that will be the X-factor.

Although they traded for him late in the season to have that true ace at this juncture, Johnny Cueto has been dreadful. Sure, he was stellar in a Game 5 ALDS win over Houston in which he retired 19 in a row, but the Royals’ “ace” has the worst ERA of any pitcher remaining in the post-season (7.88). And it doesn’t get much better from there.

Yordano Ventura has a disastrous 6.57 post-season ERA while Edinson Volquez has a 2.31 ERA that is sure to worsen as indicated by his meager 1.29 WHIP. Kris Medlen and Chris Young have been serviceable, but they’re not throwing the lightning bolts coming out of New York. 

The good news is that the Royals not only have a great defense (three current Gold Glove winners) and a solid bullpen, but they have already scored 33 total runs this post-season which is tied for second-most all-time through four games of an ALCS. Whether through power, timely hitting or speed, the Royals know how to score and they do it often.

This year’s World Series will be young electric arms vs. veterans with unfinished business. And although the Royals will have home field advantage and they’re out to accomplish what they couldn’t last year, it was a dominant arm in Madison Bumgarner that single-handedly kept them from the prize last season.

I’m not making a prediction, but this will be a World Series worth watching, and just like last year, could go seven games.

Of course I am the same guy who wrote this objective piece yesterday.

OH, and that one and only team to blow a 3-0 lead? Another New York team. The 2004 Yankees, who lost four in a row to the destined de-cursifying Red Sox. 

Yes, I just made up a word.

SO, anything can happen. Just remember that note when the 2015 World Series is confirmed — the youthful New York arms against the small-market Royals.


Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports.

Photo: Getty