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KC contact hitters vs. Mets power pitchers

Royals put balls in play, led American League with fewest strikeouts

KANSAS CITY -- It should be a classic matchup of the Mets' power pitchers versus the pesky contact lineup of the Royals in this year's World Series, which starts Tuesday (air time 7:30 p.m. ET, game time 8 p.m. on FOX).

Everyone knows about the power arms of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard for the Mets, who, as a staff, threw more 95-plus mph pitches than any team in baseball.

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But that could be right up the Royals' alley.

"We do tend to do well against power pitchers," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's our ability to put it in play."

According to the website, the Royals actually do very well against power pitching, hitting .284 against pitches 95 mph and up.

"It seems it's the guys who throw a little slower and kind of paint the corners that give us trouble," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said.

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The Royals, perhaps the most anti-sabermetric team in baseball, drew the fewest walks in the American League at 383.

The Royals' leadoff man, Alcides Escobar, never even saw a ball three in the American League Championship Series. Escobar hacks at virtually everything, and Yost doesn't discourage it.

"Ned told me, 'If it's close, go after it,'" said Escobar, who definitely obliges.

But here's the thing: The Royals also don't strike out that often. They had the fewest strikeouts (973) of any team in the league.

"That's how we play," Escobar said. "We put it in play and try to make things happen."

And generally, good things happen. The Royals were sixth in the league in scoring at 4.47 runs per game.

"Putting the ball in play allows us to use our athleticism," Yost said. "We don't swing for home runs, we're more of a gap team. And just putting the ball in play creates opportunities for us."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.
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