What to look for: Mets vs. Royals, World Series Game 1, 8:07 PM ET
The Mets play Game 1 of the 2015 World Series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City at 8:07 pm ET.
Here is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:
Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Kelly Johnson – DH
Matt Harvey – RHP
Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:
Matt Harvey (2-0, 2.84 ERA in the postseason) will start for the Mets.
Edinson Volquez (1-2, 4.32 ERA in the postseason) will start for the Royals.
Here’s what I’m looking for from the Mets tonight:
Early and often.
The Mets have the obvious starting pitching advantage on paper tonight, although it remains to be how Harvey responds to the extended rest he’s had since opening the National League Championship series a week and a half ago.
The Mets simply have to avoid getting into the middle and late innings of these games trailing, as the Royals bullpen is lockdown good at that point and they won’t have much of a shot against the ammo Ned Yost will throw at them. So, they have to get to Volquez quickly, establish the pace and tone of the game early, and give Harvey a lead he can roll with into the late stages of this game.
As good as the Mets pitching has been through the postseason, Harvey has more or less been the most consistent starter, especially in his last start against the Cubs when he simply shut them down for a victory in Game 1 of the NLCS.
But even Harvey has admitted he needs to change the program up against the Royals, as they are the best team in the game at hitting fastballs 95 mph and higher. He will probably feature an array of curveballs, power sliders, and get his change-up working to help off-set his fastball and keep the Royals guessing throughout the night.
But that fastball will still be important, especially if he can locate it on the outskirts of the strike zone. The Royals will probably be aggressive and adjust quickly, meaning Harvey’s going to have to adjust literally from pitch-to-pitch.
Take the first step.
The winner of Game 1 of the World Series has won 69 of the 110 series in baseball history. That has been the case in 11 of the last 12 and 16 of the last 18 World Series beginning 1997, with 2002 (San Francisco defeating Anaheim) and 2009 (Philadelphia defeating New York) the lone exceptions.
So if history – and recent history at that – is any indication, it’s critical for the Mets to get off on the right foot and secure a win tonight, especially with three of the following four games taking place at Citi Field.
They have the matchup they want on paper to get that done, but anything seemingly goes in the postseason, and so they cannot simply rely on science to win this game. Its going to take guts, rolls of the dice, and some craftiness to combat the Royals aggressiveness and avoid getting into their bullpen trailing for that first step to be taken.