The Kansas City Royals, who led the AL with 95 wins during the regular season are back in the World Series for the second consecutive year. They will face the New York Mets, who had the fewest wins (90) among the NL playoff field.
So, which team is more likely to break its championship drought (the Royals last won in 1985; the Mets in 1986)?
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We present the tale of the tape:
The Royals often are considered a small-ball team, and for good reason. They can paper-cut the opposition to death with singles, stolen bases and heads-up base-running (see: Lorenzo Cain in Game 6 of the ALCS). But their 15 homers this postseason rank second behind the Cubs' 16 and one ahead of the Mets' 15. Meanwhile, the Mets have the big bats in Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy. But it's Kansas City who leads all postseason teams with a .271 batting average, .328 on-base percentage and .449 slugging percentage. EDGE: ROYALS
The Mets have arguably the young best power trio in decades with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey -- and a heck of a No. 4 in Steven Matz. They shut down a red-hot Cubs offense (while outpitching aces Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta) and outdueled the Dodgers' Cy Young duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Royals have gotten some strong efforts from Edinson Volquez, but Johnny Cueto and Yordana Ventura remain question marks. EDGE: METS
There were questions about how Royals closer Wade Davis would handle the postseason pressure, but those doubts have been silenced. Setup men Kelvin Herrera and Luke Hochevar also have been lights-out, though Ryan Madson and Danny Duffy have struggled. Mets closer Jeurys Familia has been phenomenal, but the bridge (Tyler Clippard, Addison Reed) to him just isn't as reliable as the Royals'. EDGE: ROYALS
The Mets have flashed some strong glovework in the NLDS and NLCS -- Murphy's offensive dominance even has carried over to his defense. But the injury to shortstop Ruben Tejada hurts their infield defense. On the flip side, the Royals cover so much ground and make so many tough plays looks routine that it is easy to take it for granted. The only real weakness in KC's defense is in right field. EDGE: ROYALS
The loss of Juan Uribe (chest) hurts the Mets' reserve unit, though Kelly Johnson and Michael Conforto/Michael Cuddyer are nice options. Kansas City will not have the DH at Citi Field, so Kendrys Morales will add depth to a bench that includes Jarrod Dyson, Paulo Orland and Terrance Gore. EDGE: ROYALS
On paper, the Royals have the advantage -- including home-field advantage -- in most categories. But history has taught us that great starting pitching can be the biggest determining factor in a postseason series. And that's where the Mets have by far the biggest edge in this matchup.
PREDICTION: ROYALS in 7