October Confidential: Mets vs. Royals
After sweeping the Cubs in the National League Championship Series, the Mets meet the repeat AL champion Royals, who beat the Blue Jays in six games in the American League Championship Series, in the 111th World Series (Game 1 Tuesday: 7:30 p.m. ET air time/8 p.m. game time on FOX).
What's the best way to beat each of these teams? To find out, we asked players from across their respective divisions to give the inside intel on how these clubs can be beaten. Our sources were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.
NEW YORK METS
"[He] has crowded the plate lately. He's gotten closer to the dish. You have to mix him up. I think you can jam him up now that he's gotten closer to the plate. But because he's now closer to the plate, he's covering the outside pitch much better now."
-- NL East reliever
"Everything comes out hard and you really don't know what it's doing until it gets halfway there. He's so big and tall and massive. When he's out there on the mound, he looks like a giant. He's got that split and that slider. Everything is coming at you hard, so you better get that front foot ready."
-- NL East outfielder
"He's got 96 or 97 [mph] that he can throw in and out. He's got backdoor cutters, inside cutters and changeups. I think his changeup is his fourth pitch against left-handers. The Mets have guys that look the same, but they're not the same. You think they all throw 95-97, and you get them back-to-back, so you should get used to them. But they've all got something to neutralize certain hitters. I think deGrom's cutter has put him over the top and everything is down in the zone. He seldom makes mistakes up in the zone with anything. If you're going to get him, it's going to be early in the count when he's just trying to get ahead."
-- NL East first baseman
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
"Huge acquisition for the Royals. I really think he's been a great addition to their lineup. Hitting in the two-hole, he's a guy who will have a quality at-bat every time he steps up there. He's going to move a guy over, he's going to drive a ball in the gap. He can hurt you with the long ball. But overall, he's that tough out. No matter how you pitch him, he's going to find a way to battle, find a way to put the bat on the ball."
-- AL Central catcher
"He's a guy who, even being a three-hole hitter this year -- I think he's got career highs in homers -- is still a guy that's going to change a game with his legs and cover a ton of ground in the outfield."
-- AL catcher
"I think he's a little tired, worn out, but he's a smart pitcher. He knows how to get guys out, whether he's striking guys out or not. He has a good game plan. Hopefully the playoffs will give him some energy and let him perform at the level you usually see him at."
-- AL Central infielder