2015 World Series Preview

6277__mlb_world_series-primary-2015The World Series is here and for another year there are some interesting members of the final series of the year.

Last year it was all about the Kansas City Royals who broke a 28-year postseason drought in earning the AL wild card berth.

They never lost a game throughout the entire postseason on their way to one of the most dominant postseason performances in recent memory.

The only problem was that the Royals ran into the modern dynasty in the San Francisco Giants, they only lost one game throughout he postseason.

The Royals took the new-found confidence in the World Series and pushed the Giants to the brink as both teams played their first series to go longer than five games.

The Giants, mainly thanks to Madison Bumgarner, beat the Royals in seven games and took their third title in five years.

It has been a theme as of late as more teams are entering the postseason that haven’t been there in a while.

This year was not different but the team that broke the biggest streak, unlike Kansas City last year, couldn’t find their way to the World Series.

It is still a different match-up that is far from the old guard that used to rule only a few years ago.

Instead of the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, this year’s World Series will see the Royals return to take on the New York Mets.

They are two long-suffering teams that are now playing far different roles than they have in the past.

The Royals are now the dominant team after a year where nobody expected them to do anything.

This year began much the same way but now they are back for the second year in a row hoping to win their first title in 29 years.

The New York Mets are not far off of that as they have yet to win a title since 1986, the year after the Royals last won.

They returned to the postseason this year for the first time since 2006 and after a long period of off-field issues.

Both teams were never considered to be in the World Series this year, although some believed they could make some noise in the postseason.

Now they are here ready to end some fairly long championship droughts in a theme of the new MLB.

One way or another a drought over 20 years old will end at the end of this year’s World Series and one very loyal fan base will finally see the end of the wait.

It is a series that involves two teams that aren’t necessarily the most powerful or the richest. It is exactly what the MLB wanted to see as no longer have teams been able to buy championships with two teams that have been fiscally responsible.

It should be an interesting and fun series to watch as the league looks for another entertaining end to another wild season.

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In 2014 the Royals were the darlings of the postseason ending a 28-year postseason drought and moving on into the World Series. They dropped that series to the Giants in seven games but the journey was one of the best stories of the postseason. They came into a new year with most people believing that it was partly due to their talent and partly due to playing well at the right time. For that reason they weren’t expected to get back as some believed they were going to have to enter the wild card again and that there were more improved teams that could take that spot away. Then the season began and the Royals became an absolutely dominant team in the Central Division. They took the lead in the division and never looked back remaining the best team in the division until the end of the season. Through the midway point they were competing with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best team in the MLB and the thought a fluke year was gone. The Royals were the team to beat in the American League even after a late-season dip that had them fighting off the Toronto Blue Jays for the best record in the AL. They easily made the postseason and awaited the wild card team, a team they knew all too well wasn’t going to be easy to overcome. They took on the Houston Astros in the ALDS and although the Astros gave them a run for their money they took the series. Then they took on the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS where the power of the Jays shown through. It only took six games though as the Royals were able to shut down that power for four games and took the series for their second chance at breaking their World Series drought.

The Royals are the most annoying team in baseball, but in the best possible way for a team to be annoying. They don’t have a lot of power, although they have some guys that can hit the long ball, and their pitching is good but not great. What they have is an entire team that does enough to win games. Their pitching doesn’t have to be great because they have one of the best bullpens in the league. If their starting pitching falters there are no worries about pulling the plug and putting relievers in to clean up the mess. Their starters do have the ability to shut down lineups though it is just a matter of if they have their stuff on that particular day. The offence is what makes them frustrating though as Mike Moustakas and Kendrys Morales have power while everyone else finds ways to get on base. They have speed in Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar along with consistent hitters who get on base in Eric Hosmer and Ben Zobrist. The offence is just solid from top to bottom and although they may not have straight power they are great at manufacturing runs. It will work perfectly at home where home runs are not easy to come by and where their type of baseball works perfectly. They are the type of team that chips away and before you know it you’re down 5-0 and the bullpen is coming in to shut down the last few innings. That is what makes them frustrating and it is what makes them great especially at home. The only issue they have had though is that they have been shut down by great pitchers because they don’t have the power to unload the bases in one swing. They will be taking on a team with more good pitchers than any other team in the postseason and if they don’t get contact on those pitchers they will not be able to create that avalanche offence that has made them most successful. If they can get contact on these pitchers and chase them early it could be the end of their World Series drought as they have a team with few weak points.

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After years of financial problems that kept the Mets as the forgettable team in New York the Mets seemed to find what worked. A young group that had essentially traded away their best veterans years before was never supposed to arrive this year. After all they had a division with a team that was supposed to have all of the talent necessary to win in the Washington Nationals. The Mets started well but were overtaken by the Nationals who stayed their most of the season. A late season surge sent the Mets past the Nationals and they took the division and a position in the postseason. The Mets moved on to the postseason where they took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a tough NLDS. The pitcher’s duel ended in the fifth game with the best against the best and the Mets came out on top. They moved on to face the Chicago Cubs who seemed to have everything working for them heading into the NLCS. The Cubs were on a tear as they went up against the Mets but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a match-up of two teams that had been suffering not just with droughts but mismanagement and terrible decisions. For such a long time both teams had traded away their best players and been unable to find anyone through the draft or through free agency. For the Mets the lack of free agency was purely due to the fact that they quite literally had no money to play around with. Now they were both four wins away from getting back to the World Series and showing that their period of mismanagement was over. The Cubs seemed to still have some work to do though as the Mets swept the series in a surprising turn of events that brought them back to the World Series.

The Mets built this team due to salary restrictions that they had due to financial issues with their owners. That caused them to rid themselves of many of the veterans on their team and develop a young base. Most of the time that means they are in it for the long haul but they have seemed to arrive early and are looking to take advantage now. The batting has always been the issue for the Mets and it still remains one as they are not a potent offence. Thanks to Daniel Murphy’s hot streak though the Mets have seen enough offence to win plenty of games. Murphy is leading this team but the Mets will need to hope that his hot streak doesn’t end thanks to the rest they received for sweeping the Cubs. The rest of the offence is good but not great as there is no doubt that great pitching can shut them down fairly easily. The good news for the Mets though is the fact that they get plenty of chances to put up just enough runs with a pitching rotation that rivals none in the postseason. The core of the Mets young team is on the mound where their young pitching staff has carried them this year. Leading the way has been Jacob DeGrom who owns the best ERA in the postseason but he is not the only great pitcher. Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz provide little breaks for any team and they can pitch plenty in games. When they do finish the game Jeurys Familia comes in to shut everything down, he has yet to allow a run in eight appearances. The Mets are a young group but a young group with a lot of talent that has come through in their two rounds. The biggest issue might just be the fact that they have waited a long time to play baseball and that momentum they built may all be gone. Their pitching seems solid as long as the youth doesn’t come through in the World Series while their offence should be good enough against a good, but not great, pitching staff. If the momentum is gone and Murphy’s production goes with it the offence may not be enough and the Mets may continue to suffer. If they can keep the momentum there is little that the Royals have right now that can beat a team playing great baseball.

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