The 111th World Series begins tonight as the Kansas City Royals (95-67) host the New York Mets (90-72). The Royals last won the World Series on this date in 1985 and the Mets last won on this date in 1986.
So far in the postseason, the Royals have beaten Houston 3-2 and Toronto 4-2, while the Mets advanced over Los Angeles 3-2 and Chicago 4-0.
The Mets seem to have a big edge in the pitching department. Their team ERA in the postseason is 2.81 and their starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.65 with 69 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings. The Royals have a postseason team ERA of 4.41 and their starters’ ERA is 5.56. In fact, Kansas City is trying to win this World Series with a starting rotation ERA that ranked only 12th-best in the American League at 4.34. The Mets were fourth in the National League at 3.44.
The Mets lead the majors in most pitches thrown 95 mph or over this year. But Kansas City led the majors with a .284 batting average against such pitches.
On the mound tonight in Game 1, Kansas City pitches right-hander Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) against New York right-hander Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71 ERA). In three postseason starts, Volquez is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA, allowing 12 walks and 15 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings. In two playoff starts, Harvey is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA allowing four walks with 16 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings.
Kansas City’s leading postseason hitters:
.386 - Alcides Escobar (17-for-44)
.333 - Alex Rios (11-for-33)
.326 - Ben Zobrist (14-for-43)
New York’s leading postseason hitters:
.421 - Daniel Murphy (16-for-38)
.303 - Curtis Granderson (10-for-33)
.292 - Wilmer Flores (7-for-24)
Murphy has homered in six straight postseason games. In nine postseason games, he has seven homers, 11 RBIs, a 1.026 slugging percentage and a 1.462 OPS. He has as many playoff homers as he does singles with seven each.
Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Royals vice president of baseball operations George Brett will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 1. Brett threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the 2014 World Series.
Bovada now lists the teams as a pick ‘em, meaning neither team is the favorite to win the World Series.
Here are Bovada’s odds on a few players to be named the Most Valuable Player:
4/1: Daniel Murphy, Mets
15/2: Yoenis Cespedes, Mets and Alcides Escobar, Royals
10/1: Eric Hosmer, Royals
My prediction: Royals in six.