The World Series kicks off Tuesday night when the New York Mets visit the Kansas City Royals for Game 1, and there may be some early scoring with two starters off of layoffs.
After both teams have sat around idle for five days and three days respectively, the World Series is set to begin Tuesday night and we expect some early fireworks when Matt Harvey and the National League Champion New York Mets visit fellow right-hander Edinson Volquez and the Kansas City Royals for Game 1 of the best-of-seven series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX.
The posted 5-inning total at Pinnacle Sports is 3½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -121.
Nice Matchup on Paper
This World Series matchup should not come as much of a surprise as it pits the team with the best starting rotation in the Major Leagues vs. the top seeds in the American League. The Mets may have been only the three-seeds in the National League, but their pitching staff may be the envy of al of baseball with four starters all in their 20s that all throw at least 95 MPH and all have amazing control, especially for being so young.
The Royals meanwhile may have been the underdogs vs. the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS and thus get credited with an upset after being the winning MLB picks in six games, but they earned home field advantage in that series by owning the best record in the American League at 95-67 during the year, and that was a key reason for beating Toronto with Kansas City winning all three home games in the series including the deciding Game 6.
Volquez Outperformed Peripherals
Ideally, the Royals probably would have preferred starting Yordano Ventura in this World Series opener, but he started that crucial Game 6 on Friday and thus will not toe the rubber until Game 3. So Kansas City is turning to Volquez on five days rest, who did not pitch well in his last start in Game 5 vs. the Blue Jays last Wednesday when he allowed five earned runs in five innings.
Volquez actually allowed only three hits in that outing, but he had horrible command while waking four batters and laboring through 88 pitches in those five innings, with one of the hits he allowed being a home run by Chris Colabello.
Volquez finished the season 13-9 with a 3.55 ERA, but truth be told he did not really pitch as well as that ERA, not only because of his ordinary 1.31 WHIP but also because he outperformed his peripheral numbers all year. And his mainstream stats and peripheral numbers did almost converge at the end of the season as he had a brutal 5.18 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and a .304 batting average allowed during the month of September before being bailed out by the season ending.
Granted, Kansas City starters do not need to go far beyond five effective innings thanks to have probably the best bullpen in baseball, but we still think the Mets will do at least some damage against Volquez before the bullpens get involved.
Will Layoff Bother Harvey?
Harvey is one of the studs of the Mets staff, and he pitched very well in Game 1 of the NLCS vs. the Chicago Cubs allowing two runs in 7.2 innings on just four hits with nine strikeouts, as the pitch count he was on down the stretch with the Mets limiting him to just 189.1 innings during the regular season has gone out the window during the playoffs.
One problem though could be that start coming October 17th, and with the Mets sweeping the Cubs in a series ending Wednesday and Harvey not getting another start, he is pitching on nine days rest. The last time Harvey pitched on longer rest than usual was in Game 3 of the NLDS vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers when he struggled with his command early allowing three runs in the first two innings before following that with three scoreless innings and exiting after five.
A repeat of that rather sluggish start here is entirely possible against the excellent Kansas City lineup before Harvey settles into his normal groove.
Mets’ Offense Perking Up
Finally, the Royals have the better offensive numbers between these two teams over the course of the entire season, although the Mets improved offensively noticeably over the second half of the year after acquiring Yoenis Cespedes at the trading deadline and the books may have been a tad slow to adjust, as the ‘over’ is now 26-7-1 in New York’s last 34 road games vs. right-handed starters and 29-10-1 in its last 40 road games overall.
Those trends are for full-game ‘overs’, but our interest here is in the first five innings as we expect both starting pitchers to get scathed enough, especially Volquez, to exceed the five-inning total here in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series from Kansas City on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Mets, Royals ‘over’ 3½ (-121) (5 innings)