The New York Mets are the team that is perceived by many BetAnySports customers to have the dominant starting pitching as the World Series approaches, but the Kansas City Royals would clearly like to change all that as Game 1 gets underway at 8:05 PM ET at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City.
They can do that by (1) busting through against the Mets' hurlers, and/or (2) Doing some pretty nifty mound work of their own.
Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA), who's had extensive experience against National League hitters, will get the call in Game 1 for the Royals, who are looking to take it one step farther after falling in seven games to the San Francisco Giants and a pitcher named Madison Baumgarner who was, yes, rather dominant against them last year at this time.
His opponent in the opener will be Matt Harvey, who was solid enough to garner a victory in both the National League Divisional Series and the NLCS.
The Mets scored wins against a pretty impressive quartet of starters in the post-season - Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Several of them has seen plenty of Edinson Volquez, and they have almost all hit against Johnny Cueto, so there isn't much that is going to intimidate them about the pitching matchups.
And judging from the performances of all the young arms in the playoffs, competing on the "big stage" against a team that has been there before won't be particularly daunting either.
In the reduced juice World Series odds for the first game, as they have been posted at BetAnySports, the Mets are favored on the road:
New York Mets -109
Kansas City Royals -101
Over 7 Runs -120
Under 7 Runs +100
Before we go any further, let's provide the information you are probably looking for; yes, Daniel Murphy, who has now hit homers in six consecutive games, has not only faced Volquez, he has more at bats against him than any other member of the Mets. And guess what? In 18 career plate appearances, he has six hits (for a .400 average), but NO homers. But that kind of thing would not seem to matter to the second baseman, who had 14 round-trippers - a career high - in the regular season but has already sent seven over the wall in the post-season.
Only one member of the Royals - Alex Rios - has ever faced Harvey.
The Mets have gone 4-1 on the road in these playoffs, and that brings their overall record as the visitor to 45-41. Harvey has a 5-5 road record, and his ERA is more than a run higher than it is at Citi Field, but it's pretty solid nonetheless (3.42 to 2.23). And there aren't many BetAnySports patrons who are still thinking about the controversy and confusion involving agent Scott Boras suggesting he be "shut down" after a specific number of innings, owing to his comeback from Tommy John surgery - that is, unless anyone is expecting him to "hit the brick wall" in the World Series. After the All-Star break, Harvey's ERA (2.19) and WHIP ratio (0.923) were more than outstanding.
Volquez looked like he was going to become one of baseball's great pitchers after he had been dealt from Texas to Cincinnati in 2008 in the Josh Hamilton trade. He had a 12-3 record (and 2.29 ERA) going into the All-Star break, and that was the only year he made it to the Midsummer Classic. Things didn't go smoothly after that season, as he had to undergo Tommy John surgery and later got suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In 2014, though, he had a rebirth with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and came to Kansas City as a free agent this season.
At Kaufmann Stadium he is 8-4 with a 3.48 ERA and has a strikeout-walk ratio of less than 2-to-1. In Game 1 of the ALCS against Toronto, at home, he sizzled, giving up just two hits in six innings of scoreless ball before giving way to the bullpen. But in Game 5, he exited after five complete innings and five runs, as the Blue Jays were batting around in the sixth when he was yanked. He pitched twice against the Mets last season, allowing two runs in eleven innings, but this is a different New York team - one that led the big leagues in homers after the All-Star break.
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