The New York Mets are the slight favorite to win the 2015 World Series this week.
The question is are the Magical Mets good enough to warrant that consideration. They were ranked well below the team that was favored for a majority of the season to win the championship – the Kansas City Royals.
One look at the current headlines would make you think these Mets don’t need anything resembling a miracle, considering their monster young rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Throw in the real “Magic Man” this postseason, Daniel Murphy, who somehow turned a non-illustrious career into stuff of legends.
The Royals have been here before, of course, and got to the World Series the same way they did last year, only more impressively. KC pushed the league schedule to the max against the Giants in 2014 before losing Game 7 at home by a single run to one of the game’s premier aces in Madison Bumgarner.
Meanwhile, KC skipper Ned Yost admittedly, er, jokingly, said he was waiting until Monday to disclose his rotation in order to be “a bit of a punk,” he told reporters Sunday, leaving beat writers to sit and ponder his hurler strategy.
However, they needn’t lose any sleep over any breaking news. The Royals’ likely rotation of right-handers Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young are likely underdogs to their rivals in each of the first four games, as this group hardly resembles the Bret Saberhagen-led squad that won the title 30 years ago over the Cardinals.
It was the next season, of course, when the Mets, led by another top-notch rotation headlined by 21-year-old ace Dwight Gooden, went on to win the 1986 World Series.
The Royals were expected to be the AL representatives most of the season until the homer-happy Blue Jays captured the fancy of bettors and oddsmakers, sending them to the top of the contenders late in the season. Much like in ‘85, the favored Jays ran into a better overall team in the Royals that time as well, despite outhitting the eventual champs.
The Mets have been propelled into the role of favorites in this year’s Fall Classic. While the Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia has been the type of finisher necessary for this style of club, it still can’t be ignored that their No. 1 starter Harvey still has to be on some form of a pitch count. And their young pitchers have struggled on the road until the awesome showing last week in Chicago. On the other hand, Kansas City appears to play the tactical game that many recent World Series champs have been made of.
While New York manager Terry Collins has seemingly pulled all the right strings for the last month and a half, Yost has practically done it for the last three seasons. The Royals’ workman-like lineup has a different hero every night and the team’s biggest stars rarely took a night off during the regular season.
One other factor in the Royals’ favor is all those All Stars wearing powder blue that took the field in Cincinnati back in July. The Lorenzo Cain 2 RBI-led AL secured home field advantage for the junior circuit. It comes full circle in a series rated this close.
Consider it a coronation…ROYALS in 7.
Ramon Scott is a Southern California-based sportswriter, covering the preps to the pros for over 25 years. Email: [email protected].