The stage is set and the 2015 World Series is finally here. Which team will bring home the championship? The Kansas City Royals, a feisty squad that fell just short of winning it all last year? Or the New York Mets, a team that was carried all season long by a dominant young pitching rotation?

Both teams are built with homegrown talent and are looking to end World Series droughts greater than 25 years. Here’s a look back at their roads through the postseason. (To jump to MLB Network Radio’s predictions, click here.)

New York Mets

The New York Mets began their 2015 playoff campaign against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the daunting task of facing double-aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke four times in five games. In order to have a chance, their young and tired arms needed to step up big time – and they were more than up to the task. 

There are five players who can mostly be credited for the Mets’ 3-2 series win against the Dodgers: Daniel Murphy, Curtis Granderson, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia and Chase Utley.

Not many players can say they homered off of Greinke and Kershaw a total three times in a single single season, yet alone a playoff series, but Murphy did just that. Coupled with 5 RBIs and a .476 OBP by Granderson, the Mets didn’t need much more offense outside of Murph and Grandy.

On the pitching side, 13 innings of two-run ball from deGrom and 5 1/3 shutout innings on the back end from Familia made it difficult for the Dodgers to have a chance at winning the series.

But perhaps one of the biggest moments in the series came via a takeout slide of Ruben Tejeda by Utley that broke the shortstop’s leg. This was a play that seemed to light a fire under the Mets and their fan base, propelling New York to take the series in five.

In the NLCS, it was nothing but smooth sailing for the Mets. Pitchers deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz limited the damage from the Cubs’ powerful lineup, and Familia was business as usual in the ninth inning, as the team never trailed for a single inning on the way to sweeping the Cubs in four games.

Again, the Mets owed most of the credit to the the continued hot streak of Murphy, who went deep four more times in the series, two of which came off of Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Murphy went on to win the NLCS MVP – New York can only hope the second basemen can carry his historic performance into the World Series.

Kansas City Royals

All season long, the Royals looked like they were playing with a chip on their shoulder – and things did not change in slightest once the playoffs started. 

Things got off to a rough start for Kansas City in the ALDS, as both their pitching and offense struggled to perform against the young Houston Astros. The team quickly fell behind again in Game 2 after a sub-par start by Johnny Cueto, but an offensive surge led by Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer and Ben Zobrist allowed the Royals to tie the Series.

The Royals talented offense continued to carry them late in the series, as they scored nine runs in Game 4 and seven in Game 5 to capture the series.

Once again the in ALCS, the Royals starting pitching lacked day-to-day consistency as the team pitched to an ERA of 4.50 over six games. Luckily the offense was up to the task against a Toronto Blue Jays’ team that finished the regular season first in runs scored.

Much of the team’s success can be credited to Alcides Escobar, the 2015 ALCS MVP, who seemed to constantly get on base and score runs out of the leadoff spot. In addition to its offense scoring runs, the team’s lights-out bullpen was able to hold down leads late in games thanks to strong showings from Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar and Kelvin Herrera.

Maybe the Royals’ World Series experience from last year will allow them to outplay the Mets, or perhaps New York’s starting pitching is too much to overcome. Either way, it’s guaranteed a fan base that has been starved for a champion for many years is about to have a very happy ending to their season.

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