Welcome to another edition of ‘Marty's Musings', my weekly column of numbers summarizing the past week in Major League Baseball. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the prior week and the upcoming matchups to watch, identifying numbers that are generally not found in a standard box score.
Just like we all thought, it's the New York Mets against the Kansas City Royals for the 2015 World Series [insert shifty eyes]. Daniel Murphy has powered the Mets to an impressive sweep of the Cubs, while the Royals took down the Blue Jays in six fun (and sometimes riotous) games. This is the week we've been waiting for since April, if you're a fan of one of the other 28 teams, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
It's this week's Musings ----- World Series Edition.
Numbers - The Fall Classic
1 - Time in the history of MLB two expansion franchises will face one another in the World Series It's hard to believe that one of the original 16 teams has played in every Fall Classic to this point, but 2016 crosses the threshold for the first time. The Mets came into being in 1961 and the younger Royals' inaugural season was in 1969.
0 - Innings the Mets trailed the Cubs in their four game NLCS sweep. The Cubs just could not get ahead of the Mets' pitchers, and were either tied or trailing during all 36 innings. Though some of the games were entertaining, and some Cubbies hit moonshots in the series, Chicago never led at any point in the four games
12 - Swings and misses by Mets' newfound ‘slugger', Daniel Murphy. He has more hits (16) in the postseason than whiffs (12). He rocked seven home runs in the LDS and LCS while only striking out six times. Murphy earned an NLCS MVP award with his fantastic play. Murphy tied Mike Piazza for the most home runs in a single Mets postseason, and is the fifth player in MLB history to homer in four consecutive games in a single postseason.
58 - Whiffs induced by Jacob deGrom during the playoffs. Noah Syndergaard is second, with 42, illustrating the power pitching staff New York has assembled. deGrom is the fourth starter in MLB history to defeat two former Cy Young winners in the same postseason.
60 - Percentage of Noah Syndergaard regular season pitches that were 95 miles per hour or greater. The Mets flamethrower will start game three in New York on Friday night. It will be interesting to see these two fireballers (plus Matt Harvey) take on a contact-centric squad like KC.
8 - Runners left in scoring position for the Blue Jays in their 4-3 Game 6 loss to the Royals. The Jays had their opportunities, but only Joey Bautista created any runs. Bautista's two home runs was the entirety of the production in the game.
20 - Batters faced and generated outs in Marco Estrada's Game 5 ALCS start. He went 6 ⅔ innings facing the minimum batters: in the fourth inning, Alcides Escobar singled to left field, but Ben Zobrist followed it up with a double play. This is the longest any pitcher has faced the minimum in the playoffs since Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
2 - Pitchers in history to allow eight or more runs in two innings of fewer in a postseason start. Although Johnny Cueto gained some credibility with a strong LDS Game 5, he floundered again in Game 3 of the LCS, going only two innigns and giving up eight earned runs on six hits and four walks. He only struck out two in the effort, and looks quite shaky going into the World Series. Cueeeeeee-to joins Tom Glavine who also was this bad in the 1992 NLCS.
Mets set rotation, Yost takes some time
The Mets rotation is set:
Game 1:Matt Harvey, Tuesday at KC
Game 2: Jacob deGrom, Wednesday at KC
Game 3: Noah Syndergaard, Friday at NY
Game 4: Steven Matz, Saturday at NY
It's curious that Matt Harvey is starting the World Series when it's been pretty clear that Jacob deGrom has emerged as the best pitcher on the staff. In any event, the Mets are well positioned, especially with Cueto's inconsistency.
Regardless of how the Royals schedule their starters, they will likely be at a starting pitcher disadvantage throughout the series. Their four starters are the aforementioned Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, and Chris Young (yikes!).
This will be a really fun series as the Mets steamrolled the Cubs, a swing-and-miss team that is vastly different than the Royals style. It's a matchup few predicted (if anyone did) at the start of the year. Let's have some fun! Enjoy the World Series and hope for seven; you don't need me to tell you the winter is long.