Earlier this week, Banished to the Pen asked Effectively Wild listeners to take part in a World Series prediction poll, doubling as a contest for those so inclined, based on Sky Kalkman’s annual ’32 Predictions’ contest. Naturally, it was dubbed the ‘Kalkman Klassic’. The premise is simple: in each case, voters are given a pair of statistics, and they simply have to choose which number will be higher. 143 listeners made picks for ten such questions, plus an overall series pick and, as a tiebreaker, an average game time prediction. The results were a little more one-sided than we expected. Given the wisdom of the group, there’s no doubt that these emphatic totals will provide an entirely accurate reflection of the way the series will play out, and therefore I have taken the liberty of providing this sneak preview of the remaining games based on said results.
Strikeouts by Mets starting pitchers 70.6%
Innings pitched by Royals starting pitchers 29.4%
Edinson Volquez IP 72.7%
Mets middle relief IP (excludes Familia, Colon, Niese & any pitchers to start in this series) 27.3%
Jeurys Familia saves 35.0%
Wade Davis saves 65.0%
After falling into a huge hole after the first two games by only striking out four total Royals, the Mets starters will rediscover their strikeout ability by accepting that it is impossible to throw any fast pitches past them and instead reverting to throwing exclusively 81mph fastballs. Baffled, the Royals post double-digit strikeouts in games 3 and 4 as they find themselves way out in front of every single fastball, also eliminating the need for the Mets to use any middle relievers after racking up the innings early on. Eventually Kansas City snaps out of it and starts hitting the mediocre heat as effectively as the high heat, but despite a heroic Game 5 start by Edinson Volquez (in which he doesn’t allow a hit until the fifth), it’s not enough to take the IP total past the absurd number of whiffs generated by the Moyer-esque Mets. However, it also prevents Jeurys Familia from recording any saves, as the Mets’ victories in games 3 and 4 are too lopsided to generate a save situation, while Wade Davis locks down a 1-0 Game 5 win.
Daniel Murphy home runs 2.8%
Royals home runs 97.2%
Mets home runs 58.0%
Royals stolen bases 42.0%
Royals singles + doubles 90.9%
Mets walks + home runs 9.1%
Mets pitcher hits 52.4%
Alcides Escobar walks 47.6%
After his turn as a poor man’s Barry Bonds in the previous rounds of the playoffs, Murphy becomes convinced that he is in fact Bonds and attempts to single-handedly rescue the series for New York by hitting every pitch out of the park, and only succeeding in popping out to second base in every at-bat. The Mets lineup struggles to muster many bombs as a whole, instead rallying around an incredible succession of hits from their pitchers, while Alcides Escobar, in an effort to generate as much Esky Magic as possible, swings at the first pitch of every single at-bat for the rest of the series and puts every single one into play, thus never walking.
The Royals offense rallies in Game 5 with a phenomenal barrage of singles, four of them coming on first-pitch swings by Escobar. This comes as a welcome distraction to the fact that Ned Yost has been in a state of shock ever since attempting to insert Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in a brief Game 3 rally and realising that he has been left off the roster in favour of Raul Mondesi Jr. Yost becomes even more conservative as a result and refuses to put on the green light for any of his baserunners or make any lineup changes, allowing the Mets to take the homers vs steals battle when…
Triple away from the cycle performances 21.7%
No-hitters through four innings 78.3%
Johnny Cueto relief appearances 30.1%
Matt Harvey relief appearances 69.9%
Bench-clearing incidents 21.0%
Royals errors 79.0%
…Yoenis Cespedes, just lacking a triple for the cycle, instead sends one towards the right-center wall in his fourth at-bat of Game 4 and races around the bases for the second inside-the-park home run of the series after Alex Rios calls Lorenzo Cain off on a ball that he only manages to pick up on the third attempt. The rather partisan home scorer rules the play no error to give Cespedes his second home run of the game and the Royals win the no-hitter vs cycle contest 1-0 following Volquez’ gem in Game 5.
Meanwhile, Cueto starts a tense game 6 with the Royals up 3-2 and therefore is unable to pitch in relief in the same game. The crowd is stunned when Terry Collins invokes the spirit of Madison Bumgarner and brings in Matt Harvey to relieve Jacob DeGrom after Escobar’s eighth first-pitch hit of the series threatens the Mets’ slender one-run lead. The experiment nearly comes to an early end after Scott Boras, disguised as a Kansas City coach, attempts to prevent Harvey from throwing any more pitches in 2015 by hurling a stream of abuse at his client in an effort to start a bench-clearing incident. Harvey attempts to ignore him and Boras is quickly dragged out of the dugout, but then the starter leaves three consecutive 95mph fastballs out over the middle of the plate, which are rapidly crushed for doubles by Ben Zobrist, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer. The Royals take a 4-2 lead, Harvey is pulled without recording an out and ultimately we arrive at the series outcome of…
Mets in 4 0.0%
Mets in 5 7.0%
Mets in 6 25.9%
Mets in 7 2.8%
Royals in 4 2.1%
Royals in 5 9.1%
Royals in 6 44.1%
Royals in 7 9.1%
…Kansas City winning in 6, just as the mysterious “Ben L” predicted.
Of course, it’s possible that the listeners may have got some of this wrong. Check back at the end of the series to find out who actually won the contest.
*Disclaimer: may not actually be spoilers.Next post: 9 Innings of Nightmares: The Scariest Baseball Moments of 2015
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