With Major League Baseball beginning the end of its 2015 season, it is still up in the air as to which team, the Kansas City Royals or the New York Mets, is going to be crowned champions. Each team offers different paths to success, and through the first four games, the Royals hold a 3-1 advantage.
In Game 1, each team had a weakness exposed. The Royals’ Edinson Volquez gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, which is a solid start in mid-July, but not quite good enough in the World Series. The Royals took advantage of an inexperienced Mets pitching staff however, and scratched across 3 runs against Mets ace Matt Harvey. The Royals, in the end, walked off 5-4 for a dramatic series opening win.
Royals ace Johnny Cueto took the mound in Game 2, coming off one of the worst performances a pitcher has ever had in the postseason against Toronto in the ALCS, giving up 8 runs over 2 innings. That is what made his Game 2 performance so special: no one saw it coming. He was dominant. Allowing just 1 run in a complete game, a game the Royals won in an impressive fashion, 7-2. Cueto only struck out 4 Mets players, but no one could figure him out. When the Royals traded for him at the end of July, this is exactly what they envisioned; their ace helping lead them to a championship.
The series shifted to New York then for Game 3, with the Mets tossing young stud Noah Syndergaard and his 100-MPH fastball. His fastball was electric all night, and he limited the damage that the relentless Royals-offense could do. The Royals young flamethrower, Yordano Ventura, did not fare so well. The Mets offense erupted, dropping 5 of its 9 runs on the Royals’ Ventura. The difference in the game was relief pitching; the Mets had Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia each toss a scoreless inning to secure a 9-3 victory.
In Game 4, the Mets lead 3-2 through 7 innings. Rookie Michael Conforto, who had been ice cold throughout the postseason, connected on 2 home runs that should have won the Mets the game. But Daniel Murphy made a critical error on a routine ground ball to second base that let the Royals tie the game. Tyler Clippard was removed and Jeurys Familia was brought in to close the game out. It was a few batters too late, though. Royals manager Ned Yost went to his closer Wade Davis for a two inning save, and they pulled off a 5-3 Royals win.
With the Royals on the brink of their first championship since 1985, the Mets must fight if they want to make this a series. They cannot continue to make mistakes. Terry Collins can’t play for tomorrow anymore, because there is no tomorrow if you don’t win today. Murphy can’t keep swinging out of his shoes trying to recreate his power surge from last week. Matt Harvey can’t pitch a decent game, they need him to be dominant. And for the Royals, they just need to be themselves. All throughout the postseason that has been more than good enough.
Game 5 is tonight (11/1) @ 8 PM EST on FOX’
*Image from the Washington Post