Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hitting to contact

Wednesday's Game Two was prototypical Kansas City Royals, a game that demonstrated that they are fully capable of winning the series' battle of strengths.

The Mets have a rotation full of high-velocity pitchers who miss bats. The Royals have a lineup full of hitters who feast on velocity and don't swing and miss.

Wednesday was a case in point. Jake deGrom, the Mets starter, hit 98 on the radar guns. But even as he held the Royals scoreless for the first four innings, he induced just one swing and miss. The fifth inning saw Kansas City score four runs as the Royals peppered the Kaufmann Stadium outfield with base hits. DeGrom got only three swings-and-misses in his five innings, 2.3 percent of his pitches, the lowest rate of his career.

Now, this series is hardly over. As I said a couple of days ago, the Royals are well-constructed for their park. The next two or three games will be in Citi Field, and they lose the DH for those games, which presumably takes out their cleanup hitter, Kendrys Morales. (The alternative is to sit Eric Hosmer, their No.3 hitter and Gold Glove first baseman, and I don't see that happening.)

But so far the Series has played out the way I expected. The Royals are better in the field, they're better in the bullpen, and their lineup can handle the Mets starters.

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