What to watch for in the 2015 World Series

Andy Livingston

Daniel Murphy

We’ve driven to the depths of hardship and ecstasy in these 2015 MLB playoffs. Dreams were dashed, prophetic science fiction films were debunked, and Werner Herzog stopped by to help out with the predictions. Now all but two teams have faded: the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals, and one of them will be seeing their first championship since the mid-80s. We break down this first meeting of once-expansion teams in a World Series to let you know what pitching haircuts will make the grade and which plucky second baseman will make a difference.

Daniel Murphy

By now it’s been hard not to hear about Murphy’s improbable postseason turn. After only hitting 14 homeruns all season, he has knocked out seven homers total and six in six straight games against the Dodgers and Cubs combined (a postseason record). Couple that with Murphy becoming a free agent at the end of the season and he still has time to dazzle before walking off the field and into a glacier sized contract for 2016. The homers are great, but he also managed 16 hits and an OBP of .436, so even if the dingers go quiet, he has found a way to hit.

cueto

Johnny Cueto

Thinking they had made the steal of the year in picking up Cueto at the trade deadline, Kansas City has yet to reap the rewards of their move to acquire former Cincinnati Reds pitcher. Once with the Royals, Cueto went 4-9 and went six straight appearances without a win. And during the series against the Toronto Blue Jays, Cueto made one appearance and was rocked out of the second inning, giving up six hits and eight runs in a matter of minutes. He is still an important part of the Royals rotation, so there’s no way they’re going to sit him down, but they also want to tread lightly.

NY Mets pitchers
Mets Starting Pitching

These guys are no joke. The top three scariest faces you’ll see outside of a haunted house this week will be Jacob deGrom, Matt Harveym and Noah Syndergaard. In three appearances this post season, deGrom has an ERA of 1.80 in three wins, Snydergaard has a 2.77 ERA and a 1-1 record, and Harvey went 2-0 in two appearances with a 2.84 ERA. That also doesn’t count Stephen Matz, set up man Tyler Clippard, and streaking closer Jeurys Familia.

cain2

Lorenzo Cain

Hitting will be at a premium against the Mets, but the Royals have the ability to grab extra bases in Lorenzo Cain. He turned a single into a run that sealed the win against the Blue Jays, and a berth in the World Series. He also managed two stolen bases this postseason, and his ability to turn nothing into credibly tense moments for the Mets will be counted on.

Prediction

The Royals surpassed a lot of favorites (again) to make the World Series (again), but their starting pitching is just too unreliable to not see it turning into a real problem. And if the rest of the Mets offense can give even a half-Murphy in the World Series, they should be able to put up enough runs to let that strong starting rotation settle into a rhythm.

Mets in six.

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