A long World Series drought is guaranteed to end over the next couple weeks as the NL champion New York Mets battle the AL champion Kansas City Royals for the 2015 title. The Royals' last championship came in 1985, and the Mets most recently raised the Commissioner's Trophy in 1986.
Kansas City did reach the Fall Classic one year ago, losing to the San Francisco Giants in seven games. It's been 15 years since New York reached this stage of the campaign, losing the Subway Series to the rival New York Yankees in 2000.
That sets the stage for an intriguing and, based on the way both teams have played throughout the postseason, extended battle. So let's check out all of the important information for the 111th edition of the World Series along with a series preview and some predictions.
2015 World Series Schedule
|2015 World Series: Key Details for Mets vs. Royals|
|1||Oct. 27||8 p.m.||Mets||Royals||FOX|
|2||Oct. 28||8 p.m.||Mets||Royals||FOX|
|3||Oct. 30||8 p.m.||Royals||Mets||FOX|
|4||Oct. 31||8 p.m.||Royals||Mets||FOX|
|5*||Nov. 1||8 p.m.||Royals||Mets||FOX|
|6*||Nov. 3||8 p.m.||Mets||Royals||FOX|
|7*||Nov. 4||8 p.m.||Mets||Royals||FOX|
|MLB.com; 2-3-2 Format; *Denotes If Necessary|
The Mets enter the World Series coming off a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. Nobody shined brighter during that series than Daniel Murphy. The unheralded infielder is hitting .421 with seven home runs in nine postseason games so far.
One question that always lingers for teams that advance through the LCS round with ease is how the layoff will impact their play. As ESPN Stats and Info points out, it's something that hasn't worked out well for teams in a similar position as of late:
The silver lining for New York is that it's a team built on pitching. While Murphy has stolen the headlines, the staff has been the foundation for the success, ranking fourth in ERA during the regular season and first to this point in the playoffs.
Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey have been nothing short of outstanding during the Mets' run to the World Series. They are a combined 6-1 and all sport an ERA below three. That success must continue for New York to come out on top.
The Royals present a unique challenge, though. In an era where teams are increasingly willing to accept strikeouts in exchange for power potential, Kansas City relies on an old-school approach. It finished the regular season 24th in homers and 30th in strikeouts.
Rather than waiting for a long ball to produce offense, the Royals move runners along with good fundamental baseball. It's an approach that has clearly yielded plenty of success over the past two years.
They also don't mind playing close games because of their dynamite bullpen. Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar, Kelvin Herrera and Ryan Madson are a lockdown quartet, though Madson has struggled a bit during the playoffs.
The Royals waited out a rain delay before clinching the AL pennant with a Game 6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Afterward, manager Ned Yost explained, per Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital-Journal, the confidence the team had is in large part due to the bullpen, led by Davis.
"Our club was fired up. Our club does not mind being tied late because they know that our bullpen is strong," Yost said. "And they know that our bullpen will hold the fort until we can score a run. The mindset was, 'OK, let's go out, score a run, we've got Wade for the ninth inning to close this thing out for us, and let's do it right here.'"
Having that group to lean on late in games will come in handy once again in the World Series. These are two pretty evenly matched teams, which means there should be plenty of close, low-scoring games where one clutch hit is going to make the difference.
The Royals have gained a lot of experience in those situations over the last two years. Add in a bullpen with the firepower necessary to work out of trouble, and they hold the slightest of edges heading into the series. And if they do come out on top, the biggest piece of that bullpen could very well win MVP.
Title Prediction: Royals in seven games
MVP Pick: Wade Davis