The red hot Royals host the San Francisco Giants and catcher Buster Posey at Kauffman Stadium this weekend following a 5-1 road trip. Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Giants (62-53) at Royals (60-53)

After a 5-1 road trip through Oakland and Phoenix, Kansas City is returning home leading the second wildcard and 2.5 behind Detroit in the AL Central. Next up is the 2010/12 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Hopefully the Sung Woo Lee success continues with a tough homestand coming up the next seven games.

These teams haven’t faced one another since 2008 which was also at the K, to learn more about San Francisco we reached out to Melissa Pettitt of Around the Foghorn

Kings of Kauffman – Tell us about the Giants in 2014?
Around the Foghorn –
They are an enigma. Giants GM, Brian Sabean, even said at the trade deadline, “I don’t know how good we are.” I think he meant it as, they’ve been the best team in baseball and the worst team, both for decent stretches this season. They have more power than they have in the past and are scoring more runs, but they’re also struggling with some baseball basics at times.

KOK – What’s the fan base mind set having won two World Series in the last four years?
ATF –
Grateful to the point that, it’s hard to complain. We know as bad as we play sometimes, the organization has put a World Series team out there with teams that have looked just as bad at times, so I think it’s created more trust in Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy. There’s a lot of, “Well, we can’t complain.” And it’s true, we can’t. Some people wait their whole lifetime to experience that celebration, and we’ve had it twice, recently.

KOK – San Francisco seems to be up and down on offense, what’s been the biggest factor for this occurring?
ATF –
An unexplainable as it is, Angel Pagan. Over the past 3 seasons, the Giants are 19 games over .500 when he’s in the lineup, and 19 games under .500 when he’s not in the lineup and on the disabled list. Also, losing Brandon Belt twice this season was hard because he started this season off better than in the past. One other factor that may have been a factor is that there has been a respiratory infection spreading through the clubhouse, and Michael Morse specifically has lost a lot of weight with it, and some of his power. He recently got two days off to rest, and seemed to come back looking better.

KOK – Bumgarner, Hudson and Lincecum are the scheduled pitchers, could you tell us a little about them
ATF –
Bumgarner is 13-8 with a 3.21 ERA. On the road however, he’s 9-2 with a 1.58 ERA and can be just deadly. He’ll be coming off a complete game shutout in New York, so his confidence will be high. He’s a hard thrower that you’ll see a lot of fastballs from. Also, while it won’t likely happen, Bumgarner is probably begging Bochy right now to be his own DH in the game.

Hudson is 8-8 with a 2.74 ERA. He’s been a fantastic addition to the rotation and was certainly a gamble that worked out. With Matt Cain out and pitching poorly this season, we needed him more than ever. He’s been a nice veteran presence and the most consistent this season. Hitters will see his sinkerball and cutter most often, but he’s got 5-6 pitches. Righties will gets his cutter. Lefties will see his sinker.

Lincecum has really become a different kind of pitcher and adjusted to his struggles and has gotten confidence back that he lost for a few seasons. He’s 9-7 with a 4.22 ERA. He’s either on or off and thankfully, he’s been on more than not this season. He’s not going to blow a fastball past you like in past, but he has worked in more pitches and I think learned from Hudson about adapting to aging and losing power. He’s pitched no-hitters in the past two seasons, and even came in and closed out a game in the month of July, getting his first ever save. Once he loses it as a starter, he’s going to make a great bullpen guy, as we saw in the 2012 playoffs. But for now, he’s only getting better since his decline.

KOK – Series prediction
ATF –
I say the Giants take 2 out of 3, simply because Pagan is back and Belt is back. We’re finally going to be able to see what this team healthy (minus Cain) looks like. Looks like both teams have a similar record and play better on the road than at home, too, so since you’re the home team I give the Giants the edge. While they are obviously very different teams, the results have been shockingly similar in terms of record, so I’m excited to see this series with two potential playoff teams.

Probable Pitching Match-ups:
Friday, 7:10 pm – Madison Bumgarner (13-8, 3.11) v. Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.69)
Saturday, 6:10 pm – Tim Hudson (8-8, 2.74) v. James Shields (10-6, 3.43)
Sunday, 1:10 pm – Tim Lincecum (9-7, 4.22) v. Danny Duffy/LHP (6-10, 2.39)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – KC will send series a favorable trio to the bump this weekend Vargas, Shields and Duffy. However the opposition sends World Series heroes Bumgarner and Lincecum with the veteran Hudson in the middle. This should make for three well pitched match-ups that should excite the fans as much as being home.

Series Predictions – SF is an offensively challenged team which we know all about so runs will be at a premium. I think with how the Royals have been going they do enough to get this series win. Prediction: Royals take two-of-three  

2008 Meeting:
Last time these clubs met was June of 2008 at Kauffman Stadium which Kansas City took two of three games. San Francisco took game one 9-4 with Matt Cain getting the win, KC won the next two 5-3 and 11-10 with Gil Meche and Ron Mahey picking up wins while Joakim Soria earned both saves.

Franchise History:
This is only the fourth all-time meeting between these clubs with the Royals winning each previous match-up two games to one. Three of the four series have been played at the K with only one out west which game in 2005.

TV/Radio Coverage:
All three games can be seen on FOX Sports Kansas City with Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler handing the TV broadcast. Joel Goldberg leads Royals Live before and after from Rivals with Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery. On the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) will be Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews joined by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart.

AL Central Standings (August 4):
Detroit Tigers (62-50, – GB)
Kansas City Royals (60-53, 2.5 GB)
Cleveland Indians (57-58, 6.5 GB)
Chicago White Sox (55-61, 9 GB)
Minnesota Twins (51-62, 11.5 GB)

AL Wildcard Standings (August 4):
Los Angeles Angels (67-44, +6.5 GMS)
Royals (57-53, – GB)
—————————————————-
New York Yankees (60-54, .5 GB)
Seattle Mariners (60-54, .5 GB)
Toronto Blue Jays (61-55, .5 GB )
Indians (57-58, 4 GB)
Tampa Bay Rays (55-59, 5.5 GB)
White Sox (55-61, 6.5 GB)
Twins (51-62, 9 GB)

All-Time Results/2014 Series Schedule v. Giants (KC 6-3)
June 13-15, 2003: Kauffman Stadium – W 6-1, L 7-4, W 5-4
June  7-9, 2005: SBC Park – W 8-1, W 4-1, L 9-7
June 20-22, 2008: Kauffman Stadium – L 9-4, W 5-3, W 11-10
August 8-10, Kauffman Stadium

Game Notes:
San Francisco Giants
Kansas City Royals

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