2015 World Series Preview

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Citi Field is packed as a sellout crowd watches the Mets make their deepest playoff run since the turn of the century.

By NICK ALBICOCCO

On November 13th 2014, New York Mets manager Terry Collins declared, “I think 2015 is going to be a good year for us.” Let’s just say that “good year” was an understatement. Shockingly, for the first time since 2000, the Mets are playing in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, who lost last season’s World Series in Game 7. Will the Royals break their 30 year title drought, or will the Mets stun the baseball world by winning their first title since 1986?
Just last year, the Royals were the team that surprised baseball fans around the world as they unexpectedly dominated the ALDS and ALCS to reach the World Series. The only thing that got in the Royals’ way of a championship was an unreal performance by the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner. In the offseason, the Royals lost their ace James Shields and designated hitter Billy Butler, but signed slugger Kendrys Morales and pitcher Edinson Volquez. Pundits’ preseason predictions tempered expectations for the team, as many thought they wouldn’t reach the postseason. All they did was run the table in the AL Central from start to finish while acquiring an ace in Johnny Cueto and getting player Ben Zobrist. In the playoffs, they came back from the brink of elimination in the ALDS to beat the Astros in 5 games and beat the Blue Jays in 6 games in the ALCS.
With star pitcher Matt Harvey out, the Mets showed flashes of hope during last season finishing 79-83. The team did very little in the offseason besides signing outfielders Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry Jr. Many predicted the Nationals would have a season for the ages due to their dominant rotation, but it was the Mets’ rotation featuring Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard that carried them to an NL East title. Early in the season, the Mets had a franchise record of an 11 game winning streak, yet lost captain David Wright to spinal stenosis and closer Jenrry Mejia who was suspended. By July, the Mets were within 3 games of the Nationals in spite of the fact that their offense resembled a group of 4th graders at the plate. In the span of a week, the season turned around. The team brought up prospect Michael Conforto and acquired Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes in a trade. With these new acquisitions, the sudden rise to stardom for closer Jeurys Familia and the return of David Wright, the Mets went on a torrid stretch lasting the final two months of the season. In the NLDS, they beat the Dodgers in 5 games, and then swept the Cubs in the NLCS thanks to Daniel Murphy.

 

The first World Series games at Citi Field will take place Friday.

The first World Series game at Citi Field will take place on Friday.

The Royals and Mets have played only 9 games against each other in their history so there is a lack of familiarity between the teams. The Royals hold the advantage with their catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Alcides Escobar and left fielder Alex Gordon. The Mets have the better 2nd and 3rd basemen with Murphy and Wright respectably, and they win the battle in right field with Curtis Granderson. The only split is at centerfield where each team boasts a star–the Mets with Cespedes and the Royals with Lorenzo Cain. The Mets rotation is younger and better than that of the Royals, but Kansas City certainly has the better bullpen. This series will be extremely tight but I believe the Mets rotation will pitch them to a championship.

Prediction: Mets in 7

MVP: Lucas Duda

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