Posted by Alexander Han at 8:00 AM
And so it's the Royals! A matchup with little history, at least that I'm aware of, unlike the previous series against the Cubs and the Dodgers. Who is the favourite? Vegasinsider has the Mets opening as favourites, although there's not much in it. Some of the pundits seem to lightly prefer the Royals position-by-position matchup, and others just go back our pitching pitching pitching.
This Series offers some great contrasts: the power pitching and power batting of the Mets, against a scrappy, speedy contact and fielding team. The Big Apple vs the Great Plains.
The Mets will finally be facing starters that are not in the Cy Young race, and this may help them to continue their new-found propensity to score early, which they will need to given the Royals' bullpen of steel. One key to the Series: the Mets will have to field well, and control the running game, to keep the speedy Royals from scoring. That wasn't as much of a factor against the Cubs and Dodgers.
How well do the Royals play against power pitching? It's unclear: SI says that in general, contact hitting has a relative advantage against power pitching, but Alec Nathan argues that the Royals have had more success on off-speed pitching rather than 95+ mph fastballs.
In the end, there isn't much in it, and I'm tempted to go with the opinion of Terry Collins, superstar manager: He predicts that "the best team that plays the best will win." Indeed, it will probably come down to a few high-pressure fielding or base-running plays in the late innings.
Collins is less concerned with forecasts right now, and more into choosing the right rotation sequence. Whereas a few days ago most people were assuming deGrom would be the Game 1 Ace, with a view to possibly starting three games, it seems now that the Mets management is leaning towards Harvey playing that role. The thinking is that Harvey is better rested than deGrom. It's hard not to chuckle at this.
Harvey did look very sharp in Game 1 vs the Cubs, but he was pitching on four days rest and as he has told us a thousand times, that is the only way he can perform. Harvey will be starting on 9 days rest come Tuesday and generally this year that has given him pretty poor command of his pitches. I'm a little nervous about starting the Series with a Bad Harvey Day. deGrom may not have looked sharp, but he gets the job done regardless of the situation, and if it comes to that, he could start on three-days rest for Game 4, and again in Game 7. Could Harvey? Really?
Granted, Harvey lives for this spotlight, so there's an argument he will forget about all that rest and just step up and dominate. Let's hope so.
Speaking of rest, how should the Mets keep sharp in the rest period until Tuesday? On the one hand, it's good that Yoenis Cespedes, Jeurys Familia and David Wright have some chance to rest. On the other, will Murphy still be homering hot when he re-emerges, and will Duda's timing, which was just clicking into place, survive the weekend?
In the last ten post-seasons, six teams have had 5+ days of rest between winning the pennant and starting the World Series. Those six teams went 1-5, so we know the risks.
There's no saying how it will affect them, but one thing I'm personally not so happy with is appearing on Jimmy Kimmel's show before you've won anything. That gives me a feeling of "bad karma", it feels premature to be on national TV, and it could even be construed as a little bit arrogant.
But hey, why worry, our Mets are kind of above all of the usual laws of nature right now. Bring on the Royals, and Let's Go Mets!