2015 World Series Preview (featuring Matt Mortensen)
You hear that baseball fans? That’s the sound of the 2015 World Series only being a few hours away. Thus, here I am, alongside my buddy Matt Mortensen, with a last minute preview for you. I’d say more, but we’re seriously wasting valuable time here. So let’s get to the predicting! ON WITH THE SHOW!
2015 World Series
New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals
Major Storyline: Which team is breaking their championship drought? Neither team may have the tortured history the Cubs have, but it hasn’t exactly been a glorious last thirty years for either the Mets or Royals. Kansas City hasn’t won a championship since 1985, and aside from last year (where they were a Madison Bumgarner away from glory) have largely been a bottom feeder. The Mets haven’t won since 1986, and their main highlights since have been Keith Hernandez’s Seinfeld appearance, Mike Piazza getting a bat thrown at him by Roger Clemens, a whopper of a collapse and Carlos Beltran staring off into the abyss to lose to the Cardinals. Oh and there’s being the joke of the New York tabloids as well. Again, it’s not 107 years of damage, but it hasn’t been easy for either of these teams. That’s about to change, which if nothing else makes this an exciting match up.
Secondary Storyline: Terry Collins vs. Ned Yost. I know, I know, managers aren’t that important and they generally don’t decide games. That won’t be the case here, as neither guy fills me with confidence. Collins, a baseball lifer finally getting to manage in a World Series, isn’t a bad manager and he’s been capable against the likes of Joe Maddon and Don Mattingly thus far. Of course, Mattingly is the dumbest man in the universe, and it was easy for Collins to look good against Maddon with the Mets rotation pitching at a Bumgarner esq level. It’s yet to be seen how he handles a tough situation. As for Yost, you don’t know what you’re going to get. One moment, he seems to be a genius; the next, he’s letting Ryan Madison pitch instead of Kelvin Herrera and leaving Wade Davis out to pitch after an hour delay (thank goodness for Yost that Davis is the best pitcher in baseball). In a series where both teams have a clear cut advantage in one area (Royals are the better hitting team, Mets are the better pitching team), the manager that stays out of his own way is going to give his team the best chance. In short, shield your eyes Royals fans. It could get ugly.
Royals with the Most to Prove: Seeing as it’s the World Series and all, I thought we should expand this section a bit. So instead of one guy needing to prove himself, you’re getting three. Cause I’m cool like that, or whatever the kids say these days. Anyways, the three guys for the Royals are...
1. Yost. Yup, he’s making it here despite already having a section devoted to him! I can’t stress this point enough; Yost’s decision making in Game 6 against the Jays terrified me. It was like watching Roman Reigns get booed at the 2015 Royal Rumble a year after being cheered; regression everywhere! Ned, for the love of Kansas City, be more like regular season you and less whatever the hell that was the other day.
2. Ryan Madson. Kansas City’s bullpen is still a big strength for the team, with the exception of Madson. I know he was good in the regular season and is a hell of a story (Madson missed a year with Tommy John Surgery), but every time he’s pitched in the postseason, it feels like the other team is going to wreck him. Oh by the way, that’s exactly what happened the other day when Jose Bautista went deep on him to tie Game 6. If there’s a weakness in Kansas City’s pen the Mets can exploit, it’s Madson. Either he needs to get his act together, or Yost needs to start using Luke Hochevar or Dan Duffy in that spot. On second thought, maybe Davis or Herrera should pitch two innings.
3. Johnny Cueto. And we’re back to asking whether Mr. Cueto has what it takes to pitch in the postseason. He may have looked good closing out the Astros, but Cueto immediately proceeded to fall to pieces in Game 3 against the Jays. Take away that Game 5 against Houston actually, and Cueto has been average at best and, in the words of Immortan Joe, mediocre at worst. With David Price now gone (and haven proven he’s not nearly as bad in the postseason as the numbers indicate) and free agency looming, Cueto has to turn it around and fast. If he can’t win either of his two starts, the Royals are, in the words of Mike Myers, done like dinner. You’re now officially looking at the first World Series preview to ever quote Mystery, Alaska. Drink it in folks!
Mets with the Most to Prove: Same rules apply here!
1) David Wright. The common theme of this section is going to be that a) Daniel Murphy isn’t in it because of how hot he’s been and b) someone else needs to step up and help him once he inevitably comes back to planet earth. What better candidate than the Mets third basemen? No one has worn the Mets recent tortured past like Wright, who has seen every up, every down and everything in between. This is the captain’s time to lead by example and cement his legacy as one of the best Mets ever. All eyes will be on him.
2) Lucas Duda. Had a nice Game 4 against the Cubs where he almost singlehandedly won them the game. Aside from that however, Duda has continued to struggle mightily. If he can’t repeat his Game 4 performance, the Mets will be in trouble. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was even benched, as Michael Cuddyer is more than capable of playing first. Well, he’s at least more capable of that than playing left field.
3) Yoenis Cespedes. Despite Murphy’s run, Cespedes remains the Mets best player and most important player, and they need him to be better than he was against the Cubs if they want to win it all. Also, they’ll need him to be healthy. Remember, Cespedes was taken out of Game 4 against Chicago with a sore shoulder, and while he will play tonight, that’s certainly something to watch out for. No Cespedes and the Mets will be done, unless Murphy continues to be the best player in baseball. Which he can’t possibly continue to be, right? Right?!
Gamblin Matt and the Odds: So I'm very happy my reverse psychology worked on the Cubs! I got my sweep. I'm a happy man. That's what you get for canning our column, Cult! So the World Series comes down to the Royals (yay) and the Mets (boo). The Royals last won the World Series in 1985 while the Mets last won it in.... 1986. Well that's boring. Would have been better if a team was competing and hadn't won it since, oh I don't know lets pick a random year, 1908. Too soon?
Now I'll try to put all bias aside with my predictions. As I said in the last column I need the Royals to win for a nice chunk of money and I'm not going to be able to cheer for the Mets as a Yankee fan.Kansas City in the post season led by Escobar and Zobrist leading them off have the best offense this year. .954 and 9.33 leading off is pretty awesome. The biggest advantage to the Mets though with this line up is the stupid rule I hate so much and that's Morales being put on the bench for the games in New York. I seriously loathe that rule. That's gotta change. It may not be a game change per se, but he is hitting quite well this post season.
Personally I like the Mets starting rotation more than the Royals and the Royals bullpen more than the Mets (as does everyone, probably). That's why the player to watch for me from the Royals is Johnny Cueto. I don't know if I'm allowed to swear but he's been pretty shit for the Royals. He was pretty much crap during the regular season and quite ordinary in two of his three starts in the postseason. I would expect him to pitch game two rather than game three in New York and that's a must win game for the Royals if they want to win the World Series. I don't think they can go to the bullpen and rely on them to win them this. Or rely on some late innings miracle runs. I like the Mets starting pitchers too much for that.
Clearly the player to watch for the Mets is Daniel Murphy. You better not pick him too Cult! If the Mets want to win the World Series they need runs. Probably a lot of them if the Royals do their thing late. He is hitting .421 with 7 home runs and an ops of 1.462. Get me seats up the back thank you very much. The Royals need to stop him. That's obvious. They can't let him get on top of them like he did against the Dodgers and the Cubs. Take Murphy out of the equation and I think the Mets hitters are putting up some ordinary number. Hitting just over .200 and an ops of around .600 I believe by memory. Royals stop Murphy and they'll win the World Series. Unless Cespedes goes off...
For game one it is even money here. $1.90 for both teams to win. That's about right I feel. I'm finding it very hard to pick a winner here for game one. Leaning towards the Mets though. I think this will be a low scoring game and Harvey should have too much class to prevail. The Mets are $1.85 to win the World Series while the Royals are slight underdogs at $1.95. Again probably right. No reverse psychology this time but I don't see this series finishing before game 6. I fully expect this to go the distance no matter the outcome, maybe. I'm not sure the Mets could win game 7 on the road. The Mets are $5 to win 4-2 and $5.50 for 4-3 while the Royals are what a surprise the exact same odds of $5 and $5.50. Bookies are certainly thinking this is going to be a very tight series. My heart and wallet says to take the Royals. My head says take the Mets. So it's with a heavy heart that I think that the Mets win this in 6. Matt Harvey to be World Series MVP at $10 for me. Expect him to win both of his games. If the Royals are to win I think they have the talent to win in 6 and I think Cueto is going to step up and deliver to monster pitching performances so he'll be my pick for World Series MVP if the Royals win it at $15. Good luck to only the Royals. I hope you get swept, Mets!
Winner: I don’t feel good about picking either. The Royals have a solid offense, a great bullpen and always seem to get the job done, but they’re pitching is weak, they spot teams big leads (look how that came back to bite the Cubs) and their manager is a walking accident waiting to happen. On the other hand, the Mets offense is average at best, Daniel Murphy cannot stay this hot forever, and the eventually you have to figure their world class pitching will wear down as the heat rises. So what will it be? I’m going to say…Royals in seven. Even with Yost worrying me, they’re motivated from last year’s defeat, they have home field, and I think they have just enough to pull it out. Look for them to pull it out in a tight, final game, with Wade Davis being named MVP after another stellar performance as closer.
That’ll do it! I’m out for a bit, but not too long. Till then, enjoy the World Series AND the return of the NBA! Finally, options that don’t involve Roger Goodell.