By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
The Royals have made the World Series once again after falling to the San Francisco Giants in last year’s Fall Classic four games to three. The Royals didn’t lose any steam following that crushing loss to end their year, and rolled up 95 wins this year in the regular season on their way to the best record in the American League.
The Mets reached the series behind a stable of young power arms that has rarely, if ever been seen before in the sport. Harvey, deGrom, Syndegaard, and Matz all reach mid to high 90’s with their fastball. That pitching combined with the insane postseason run from Daniel Murphy has Mets fans feeling good as they enter the Fall Classic for the first time since the 2000 Subway Series.
With Game 1 on it’s way tonight, here’s five things you need to know.
The Royals rarely strike out.
In fact, they strike out just 15.9% of the time in the regular season, which is nearly five percentage points lower than the league average (20.4%). As a team they struck out 144 times less than any other club. They are the definition of a contact team, and will be facing a Mets pitching staff that during the postseason has struck out a ludicrous 30.8% of the batters they’ve faced. Something has to give in that battle.
The Royals Hit Power Pitchers Well
for those that think that the Royals have just struck out fewer times because they haven’t seen pitching like the Mets, you’d be wrong. The Royals have the highest batting average in the league against pitches that are 95 MPH+.
As you probably know, the Mets pitching staff throws hard. Like really hard. They average 94.4 MPH on their fastballs. Despite that velocity, the Royals have shown this season that they don’t get overpowered often as evidenced by that average.
Neither Has Ever Won A Game 1 In The World Series
It’s amazing to think about but it’s true. In the history of the World Series, the Mets and Royals are both winless in the opening game.
One of the teams will end that winless streak tonight.
Edinson Volquez Struggles In Postseason
The Royals Game 1 starter is Edinson Volquez and his postseason stats haven’t exactly lit the world on fire in his career.
Needless to say, an ERA above 4 with a 1-2 record this season doesn’t look great for the Royals chances, especially when you consider the guy who will be toeing the rubber for New York.
Matt Harvey Is Really, Really Good On Long Rest
Harvey has been on an innings limit this year which has forced him to skip a couple of starts. That has led to long lay-offs in between some of his starts, but it doesn’t really seem to affect him. Heading into tonight’s start, Harvey will be working on ten days rest. That’s something he’s done twice previously this season, and it’s worked out pretty well for him. On Aug 28 and Sep 20th, Harvey was coming off 12 day breaks between pitching and his combined numbers in those games?
11 IP 3 H 0R 2BB 15K’s.
Yeah, that’s not bad. He was also on innings limits in those games. I doubt that restriction will exist in the World Series. Game 1 is set for tonight, with first pitch slated for 8:07 pm on FOX. Enjoy.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.