The 2015 World Series

After doing so well in the Wild-Card Games (1-1) and the League Division Series (3-1), I didn’t do so well predicting who’d win the two League Championship Series: I thought the Blue Jays would defeat the Royals in seven games (Royals won in six), and I was throwing all my support at the Cubs in six over the Mets (the Mets completed the four-game sweep).

ALCS Blue Jays-Royals: Though I originally ranked the Royals higher than the Blue Jays, I predicted that the Jays would beat the Royals in seven games. Well, the Royals won in six and became the fourth team of the 2000s to appear in back-to-back World Series. The 2000/2001 Yankees, the 2008/2009 Phillies, and the 2010/2011 Rangers are the others. Though the Blue Jays had broken a 22-year postseason drought, the Royals simply outplayed them. They’re a relentless team that finds ways to win.

NLCS Cubs-Mets: I guess this is one prediction that Back to the Future II didn’t get right, but let’s look at the ironies involved in the movie’s prediction. The movie said that the Cubs would beat the “Miami Gators.” There is a team in Miami that didn’t exist when the movie came out, but they’re in the NL—not the AL—and they’re the Marlins—not the Gators. However, the Marlins happen to play in the same division as the Mets. That’s an ironic connection, right? Okay, that’s tenuous at best, so let’s look at this one: According to the movie, the Cubs SWEPT the World Series; the Cubs just got SWEPT by the Mets. That’s irony, right? Well, how about this one: The Cubs lost the final game on October 21, 2015—the very date to which Marty and the Doc travel, and the day Marty learns the Cubs sweep the Gators. Now that’s cosmic!

 

Onto the World Series, which should turn out to be wonderful baseball between two teams who earned their appearance there. Not only that, but it’s the first World Series ever made up of two teams that weren’t one of the original sixteen teams. Sounds unbelievable? Well I checked, and sure enough, every other World Series ever has at least one of those two teams or a relocated incarnation of those teams (example: the Minnesota Twins were once the original Washington Senators). Wow! It’s the first ever “expansion World Series”!

 

New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals

     

In my original ranking of teams I’d like to win the World Series, I ranked the Mets #7 and the Royals #3, so I guess I’m cheering on the Royals. But I’ve got a lot of respect for the Mets and the way they defeated the Cubs through better pitching and hitting. Let’s compare the two teams.

  • Both teams came into existence in the 1960s—the Mets first in 1962, and the Royals in 1969.
  • Both teams last won the World Series in the 1980s—the Royals in 1985, and the Mets in 1986.
  • Both teams have appeared in the World Series once since then—the Mets in 2000, and the Royals last year.
  • Both teams have had recent stretches of losing or sub-par seasons—the Royals enduring more than the Mets.

Historically speaking, these two teams and their fan bases have waited a long time for this kind of success, and either group deserves that. So what’s the on-field comparison?

Pitching: Mets starter Matt Harvey has stepped up, and starter Jacob DeGrom has been dominant. Their closer Jeurys Familia has been lights out all postseason. The Royals has had some shaky outings, but their bullpen is phenomenal all the way to closer Wade Davis. I’ve gotta give the edge to the Mets because the postseason ERA of their starters is about three runs lower, and pitching wins championships.

Offense: They have very different offenses, so it’s hard to compare. The Mets have been bashing the ball around, led by Daniel Murphy’s new postseason record by homering in six consecutive games. Will that continue? The Royals, on the other hand, rely on timely hits and get it from players like Mike Moustaskas who has been underhitting. But they get the timely hits and have tremendous speed on the basepath. Their postseason batting average with runners in scoring position is over 100 points higher than the Mets. Advantage: Royals.

Defense: This one definitely goes to the Royals. They’ve got the best defense in baseball, and defense wins championships.

Intangibles: The Royals were there last year and retained most of their team. They were so close and I still claim that they weren’t defeated by the entire 2014 Giants team, just starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner. I think they have the edge here because they’re just a little more relentless than the extremely talented Mets.

Prediction: Royals in seven games. And Game 7s are always worth watching!

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