Which AL team do Mets want to face in World Series?
The Mets have done their part. After winning the National League East and battling past the Dodgers in the NL Division Series, they swept aside the Cubs in the NL Championship Series. Now, all they can do is wait -- and watch.
The World Series begins Tuesday night in either Kansas City or Toronto (on FOX). The Mets are in after winning their fifth NL pennant, and their first in 15 years, on Wednesday night. As for where and whom the Mets will be playing, they'll know within the next three days as they keep a close eye on the American League Championship Series between the Royals and Blue Jays.
Toronto avoided elimination on Wednesday, winning Game 5 and forcing the series back to Kansas City. With a 3-2 lead, the Royals will have another chance to clinch in tonight's Game 6 (7 p.m. ET air time on FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. first pitch) at Kauffman Stadium.
If the Jays win behind David Price in Game 6, the series will head to a decisive Game 7 on Saturday. The AL champion will host Games 1 and 2 of the Fall Classic as a result of the league's 6-3 victory in this year's All-Star Game.
Which ALCS outcome is in the Mets' best interest? It's hard to say. They haven't played the Royals since 2013, when both clubs were drastically different than they are now. They played only four games against the Blue Jays this year and split them, winning two at Citi Field and dropping two at Rogers Centre.
Even the games they played against the Jays this year aren't indicative of how a postseason series would unfold. Need proof? Compare the Mets' regular-season track record against the Cubs -- 0-7 record, outscored 27-11 -- to the way they swept the NLCS without Chicago ever holding a lead.
Still, it seems the Blue Jays present a better matchup for the NL champion Mets.
The Cubs' lineup was full of powerful young hitters who emerged ahead of schedule. The Jays' greatest strength is their veteran middle of the order: Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki. But both clubs lean on one tool in particular: power.
In the NLCS, the Mets proved that their live young arms -- starters Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz -- could neutralize a home run-hitting lineup with high-octane fastballs and devastating secondary pitches.
The Royals, meanwhile, employ a more contact-oriented offensive approach. Their emphasis on putting the ball in play and situational hitting might be more effective weapons against the Mets' rotation and closer Jeurys Familia.
If the ALCS goes seven games, the Mets will get a glimpse at two of the greatest challenges presented by Toronto: Price and Marcus Stroman, the one-two punch atop the Jays' rotation. Then again, the Mets already advanced past two even more devastating duos: the Dodgers' Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, and the Cubs' Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.
Kansas City's rotation has been more of a question mark in the postseason, particularly given the inconsistency of right-hander Johnny Cueto. But like last year, the Royals' hard-throwing bullpen has proven effective at shortening games, and manager Ned Yost uses his relievers aggressively in the postseason. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, meanwhile, has had to lean heavily on young relievers Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna.
So the Mets will wait and watch and, perhaps, hope for one outcome or the other. But in reality, if they play the way they did in the NLCS -- riding four games of dominant starting pitching and Daniel Murphy's inexplicable, historic offensive outburst -- their World Series opponent may not truly matter.