Mets set World Series rotation: Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard
NEW YORK (AP) Looking for a fast start in the World Series, the hard-throwing New York Mets will hand the ball to Matt Harvey.
They hope to have a healthy Yoenis Cespedes against the Royals, too.
With their opponent now in place, Mets manager Terry Collins announced his rotation Saturday when the team worked out at Citi Field. Harvey was picked to pitch the opener at Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by Jacob deGrom in Game 2.
When the best-of-seven series shifts to New York, the National League champions will turn to rookies Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.
''I do think the depth of our starting pitching gives us a good chance against almost anybody,'' general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Collins said the Mets wanted to give deGrom an extra day of rest, and they like going into Kauffman Stadium with their top two starters. They also feel good about Syndergaard pitching at home, where he's been most successful.
''We thought that's a good mix,'' Collins said, adding Harvey could be available out of the bullpen in a potential Game 7.
No matter which starter is on the mound for the Mets, one thing is certain: He throws hard.
New York delivered 5,752 pitches clocked at 95 mph or better this season, by far the most in the majors, according to STATS. (The Royals were second at 4,315).
That makes for an intriguing matchup against a Kansas City lineup that struck out the fewest times of any team in the regular season and had the highest contact rate in the big leagues.
Royals batters hit a major league-best .300 on heaters 95 mph or faster, STATS said.
''We're not going to change the way we go about things. We've still got to pitch to our strengths and our strength is power,'' Collins said. ''I still think we'll strike some people out because our guys have got good stuff.''
Harvey shut down the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series opener and won both his playoff starts.
Last season's NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three postseason outings.
Syndergaard, the hardest thrower of the group with a fastball that tops out around 99-100 mph, is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in three games - including his first career relief appearance.
Those young arms are the reason the surprising Mets were installed as pick `em or even a slight favorite to beat a club that's captured consecutive AL pennants.
''We're playing against a team that has a comparable payroll, so if anything I think that is some evidence money is not absolute king,'' Alderson said.
Kansas City, which finished off Toronto in the ALCS on Friday night, fell just short of a World Series crown last year with a Game 7 loss at home to San Francisco.
''It just seems like they're a competitive, fiery bunch - I think kind of like our guys,'' Mets captain David Wright said. ''It just seems like they kind of never go away. It seems like they always find a way to win. And no matter what the score is, no matter what the situation is, they grind it out and they just, they never die. And I think that that's a tremendous compliment for a team, so we're going to have our hands full, for sure.''
The Mets were watching as the Royals edged the Blue Jays in Game 6. Wright said about 15 players went out to dinner together and kept their eyes on the ALCS on a night when several Mets also appeared on ''Jimmy Kimmel Live'' and attended the New York Islanders game in Brooklyn.
''We know about the back end of that bullpen, the way they're able to shorten games,'' said NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, who has homered in a record six straight postseason games. ''So it's going to be fun. I think we'll be prepared.''
Cespedes said he believes he'll be ready as well, even though he did little during Saturday's workout other than leg work in the gym.
The slugging outfielder received a cortisone injection in his sore left shoulder Thursday after leaving the NLCS finale Wednesday night.
''Compared to the first day I feel a lot better,'' Cespedes said through a translator. ''I could have probably done a little bit more today, but I didn't really want to push myself. I want to give myself another day.''
Collins said Cespedes will hit Sunday and Monday when the Mets work out at Kauffman Stadium.
Reserve infielder Juan Uribe will travel with the club to Kansas City, though the Mets probably won't decide whether he'll be added to the roster until after Monday, Collins said.
Uribe missed the NL playoffs and has been sidelined since late September with a chest cartilage injury. But on a team with little World Series experience, he owns two championship rings.
''Obviously, he looks great in batting practice. The live pitching today should help indicate some things,'' Collins said. ''He's been to this dance before and I think his presence in the clubhouse and on the bench would be huge.''