October at its finest: World Series baseball is underway

Every baseball fan anticipates the end of October starting with the pictures of their favorite team working out in Florida and Arizona in March, all the way on to the falling of the leaves that signifies the Fall Classic is near. The Major League Baseball season will be reaching its climax and conclusion in the next two weeks in the World Series. A best of seven affair, it will pit the American League representative from Kansas City, the Royals, against the pennant winner from the National League, the New York Mets.

Both teams have had long droughts of championship baseball, although the Royals did make it to the World Series last year. The Kansas City Royals were the winningest team in the American League. Although picked to regress after making a surprising run all the way to 7 games in the World Series last year, Kansas City was hot right from the start, and ran the table to claim the American League Central Division crown. This postseason, they defeated both the Houston Astros in five games and the Toronto Blue Jays in six to make it here.

On the other side, the New York Mets were able to sneak up on the Washington Nationals to claim the National League East Division title, and defeated the LA Dodgers in five games before sweeping the Chicago Cubs in four. It should be an exciting series with lots of key players for both teams.

Two of the hottest hitters in baseball will oppose each other: Alcides Escobar, the Royals leadoff hitter who is hitting close to .400 this postseason and has led off four of the Royals’ last five games with first pitch hits, and Daniel Murphy, who has blasted seven postseason homeruns hitting out of the three hole for the Mets. While both teams have very sound hitting lineups, this series will come down to pitching.

The Mets have four of the best and brightest young starters in the game, while the Royals have one of the top bullpens in baseball. The Mets top three pitchers, Matt Harvey, Jacob Degrom, and Noah Syndergaard, all throw in excess of 95 miles per hour on their fastballs and have devestating offspeed stuff as compliments. Jeurys Familia, the closer for the Mets, has three of the nastiest pitches in the game, including a 93 mile per hour splitter he started throwing just two months ago. He is someone you don’t want to see at the end of games.

Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis are the two backend relievers for the Royals, both throwing right around 100 miles per hour with nasty secondary offerings as well. Don’t be surprised if the Royals get them into every game that is not a blowout. The Royals will be hoping their big trade deadline pitching acquisition of Johnny Cueto from the Reds will be able to turn it around, as he has struggled this postseason and will be taking the ball for Game 2 and a potential Game 6. With all these strong arms, expect low scoring affairs that keep all the games intense down to the final pitch.

Now, for some predictions:

Game 1: Matt Harvey proves he deserved to get the Game 1 nod, Daniel Murphy takes Volquez deep for his eighth postseason homerun in the fifth inning, the Mets win 4-2.

Game 2: Cueto pitches as the Royals needed him too, Degrom gets roughed up, including four Escobar hits, and Herrera and Davis each pitch one inning to close the game out for KC, 6-2.

Game 3: Yordano Ventura gets roughed up early, with Yoenis Cespedes crushing a fastball to put the Mets on the board in the first. Ventura settles down, but it is too late, as Syndergaard cruises through seven innings and Familia pitches the eighth and ninth. Mets, 4-0.

Game 4: Wily veteran Chris Young picks up the victory for the Royals, baffling the Mets from his 6’10” frame. Herrera and Davis both pitch two innings after Young throws a solid five. KC, 2-0.

Game 5: With Harvey back on the hill, the Mets pick up their third win of the series, as Daniel Murphy takes Volquez deep again to set a postseason record for homeruns with nine. Mets, 3-1.

Game 6: Cueto keeps the Royals alive for a Game 7, keeping the Mets’ hitters off balance all game long. Lorenzo Cain drives in four runs on three doubles, their dynamic bullpen duo throw a combined three shutout innings, and KC wins 4-2.

Game 7: The Mets let Syndergaard air it out for four innings, and Harvey follows out of the pen for three. Familia pitches the last two innings, and the only run of the game is a surprise, as Daniel Murphy takes Wade Davis deep in the top of the ninth inning to give the Mets a 1-0 victory, and a World Series title.