For the first time in over three decades, the Kansas City Royals have captured the hearts of sports fans and are on their way to the World Series. They have yet to lose in the postseason; winning the Wild Card against the Oakland Athletics, the Divisional Series against the Los Angeles Angels, and most recently the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles. Now the team that is looking to make history will match up against a National League foe that finds itself in a familiar spot.
The Giants finished the regular season 88-74, and in second place in the NL West behind the Dodgers. However, they got a win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card round, knocked off the Washington Nationals in four games during the Divisional Series, and finished things up with a 4-1 series win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. Now the Giants find themselves back in the World Series for the first time since they won it in 2012, and the third time in total since 2010.
The starting pitcher for the Giants on Tuesday night in Game One will be their ace, Madison Bumgarner. While Bumgarner has already won two World Series titles with the Giants, he is coming off his first NLCS MVP Trophy, which he earned for his performance against the Cards. The Giants will hope that Bumgarner is ready to go against James Shields, who will be getting the nod for Kansas City. Shields has a 14-8 record on the season, though he has only gotten one decision for his three postseason starts.
Aside from the starters in Game One, the pitching match-up looks like it could be even across the board during this series. The Giants are 10th this season with a 3.50 ERA, while the Royals are 12th at 3.51. The Royals also have the 8th most quality starts at 95, and the Giants have the 3rd best WHIP at 1.17. As the series moves on, be sure to check in with sportspicks.com handicappers to find out inside information about how big of a role pitching will play.
Neither of these teams have a hard time finding the ball on offense either. The Giants are led by Buster Posey, who is batting .311 and has 22 home runs on the season, and Hunter Pence, who leads the team with 106 runs. For the Royals, they’ve been playing small ball during the postseason and it’s been working for them. They are getting a big impact from Norichika Aoki, who has a .285 ERA, and from Alex Gordon, who leads the team in homeruns, RBIs, runs, and on-base percentage.
With the way things are standing right now, the Royals are at 5/6 odds and just slight favorites over the Giants to win the World Series. The biggest question that might be in the air when things start on Tuesday is how the time off has impacted the Royals. Some may think that the time off was needed to rest their places, while others may believe that they might’ve wanted to keep the train rolling while the iron was hot. In either event, it looks like we are going to have a great series and history will be made.