World Series Preview: Giants (88-74) v. Royals (89-73)

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This has all the makings of a really fun World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals and not because both teams are wildcard winners. Royals and Giants play in two of baseball’s most beautiful ballparks with AT&T Park and Kauffman Stadium.

Tonight the 110th World Series begins at Kauffman Stadium, which will be the Royals first since 1985 while the Giants are looking for a third in the last five seasons (2010 and ’12). Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Not that fountains and coves will not be the determine factors but will provide great backdrops to this Fall Classic. The series will be a 2-3-2 format with four games in Kansas City and three straight in San Francisco due to the AL winning the All-Star Game at Target Field.

Before we get to other things in this preview of the 110th World Series, we check in with our friends at Around the Foghorn and editor Timmy Kennedy in a Q&A.

Kings of Kauffman – Madison Bumgarner starts game one Tuesday night, he’s been unreal in his postseason career on the road. What hope do Royals fans have since this won’t be the regular season version they beat.
Around the Foghorn – In all honesty, against Bumgarner, there is no hope. On the road, during the postseason, there is simply no way to score against him. He is lights out. The only way they can win is by making him throw a lot of pitchers, tiring him out and consequentially getting him out of the game as early as they can and in turn, trying to score some runs off the bullpen.

KOK – After Bumgarner, how does the rotation set-up and what advantages do you think they have?
ATF – The rotation has been a real surprise. I’ll admit, I was worried about Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong all starting. With Peavy and Vogelsong, experience is the key. They know how to win in the postseason, and for Peavy, the way he has pitched since joining the Giants is a huge advantage. With Hudson, his ability to go deep into the game and keep the ball in the ballpark always gives us a chance to win.

KOK – Pablo Sandoval also has a great World Series average and was the 2012 MVP, who else does KC need to hold in check?
ATF – Evidently, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Both guys love coming up clutch, and have had MVP calibre seasons. If they come up to the plate with the game on the line, you can bet they’ll come through for the Giants. Also — Brandon Crawford has a knack for coming up with HUGE plays.

KOK – We know what happens if Kansas City leads after six innings, what’s the flip side if San Francisco does the same?
ATF – Under the radar, the Giants bullpen has been equally as brilliant. Our postseason bullpen ERA is actually lower than the Royals, and that’s with Hunter Strickland having given up a boat-load of home-runs. Providing Bochy utilises it correctly, we should be fine.

KOK – X-factor for the Giants in this series?
ATF – My X-Factor has to be the rookie; Joe Panik. He has saved our season in truth. I think the cherry on the cake for his fairytale season would be to be the MVP of the World Series for the Giants at second base, and at second in the batting order. With his astonishing bat-control and his incredible brain, he will make a big, big impact.

KOK – World Series prediction
ATF – It will be close. It will be tense. It will epic. But, what sort of a fan would I be if I didn’t opt for the Giants.

Probable Pitching Match-ups:
World Series Game 1 (Tuesday, October 21), 7 pm: Madison Bumgarner/LHP (18-10, 2.98) v. James Shields/RHP (14-8, 3.21)
World Series Game 2 (Wednesday, October 22) 7 pm: Jake Peavy/RHP (7-13, 3.73) v. Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20)
World Series Game 3 (Friday, October 24) 7 pm: Jeremy Guthrie/RHP (13-11, 4.13) v. Tim Hudson/RHP (9-13, 3.57)
World Series Game 4 (Saturday, October 25) 7 pm: Jason Vargas/LHP (11-10, 3.71) v. Ryan Vogelsong/RHP (8-13, 4.00)
World Series Game 5 (Sunday, October 26)* 7 pm: TBD v. TBD
World Series Game 6 (Tuesday, October 28)* 7 pm: TBD v. TBD
World Series Game 7 (Wednesday, October 29)* 7 pm: TBD v. TBD
* = If necessary

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – (Postseason Record/ERA)
Game 1 – Shields (1-0, 5.63) versus Bumgarner (2-1, 1.42) looks like a mismatch given how good the Giants starter has been on the road over his career in the postseason. Doesn’t help that Shields hasn’t been at his best in the Wildcard, ALDS and ALCS starts made. But Big Game James is 1-0 in his career in the World Series (2008) and against San Francisco in 2014 which was a complete game shutout in August. With these two game one starters past results don’t matter on this stage.
Game 2 – Ventura (0-0, 4.85) versus Peavy (1-0, 1.86) on paper seems to be a mismatch but let’s not forget that Peavy spent years with the White Sox. That being said the thrower of fire has pitched well since being brought out of the bullpen versus Oakland. This game will obviously be important given what happens following Tuesday night’s result.
Game 3 – Guthrie (0-0, 1.80) versus Hudson (0-0, 3.29) both pitchers will be making their World Series debut at AT&T Park. Starting Guthrie at a park that will benefit from his giving up flyballs, can Hudson continue his postseason run which his ERA is 3.29 in two starts, Guthrie looks to build off his ALCS game three start.
Game 4 – Vargas (1-0, 2.38) versus Vogelsong (0-0, 5.19) game four will have two pitchers with “V” last names matching up and will be a lefty versus righty. Like his teammate Guthrie, Vargas will benefit from starting at a spacious ballpark while Vogelsong has a high ERA he’s pitched on this stage.
Games five, six and seven starters are to be determined but expect starters from games 1-4 to take these spots.

Series Predictions – First World Series meeting between these teams in the Fall Classic, two gems of stadiums, Midwest versus West Coast. The New York/San Francisco Giants are 7-12 in the World Series and 2-3 since moving out west including winning their last two, the Kansas City Royals are 1-1 as we know having not appeared since 1985. So many things to factor in here, each team had decent layoffs following the League Championship. Combined these two Wildcard winners are 16-2 (Giants 8-2, Royals 8-0) in their march to this point. Neither team is the same as they were during the August 8-10 series at the K. San Francisco has experience on this stage with Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval plus Hunter Pence isn’t anything to scoff at. Kansas City hopes Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer continue to swing a hot bat while Billy Butler and Alex Gordon continue to produce. Much has been said about who can get the lead to their bullpen (Giants 68-6, Royals 68-4 leading after six innings) with SF having ex-Royal Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi, Yusmeiro Petit, Hunter Strickland plus Sergio Romo giving manager Bruce Bochy several options. On the flipside we know about Ned Yost’s “cyborgs” of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland but don’t forget about Brandon Finnegan plus Jason Frasor. Both these teams failed to win 90 games and took the long route to where they’re at now but this should be a fun series. I’ve picked the Royals each leg of the journey and why would I stop now, I’m a lifelong fan and I’d love to see my favorite professional sports team win for the city/region of long suffering fans which I believe happens. Prediction: Royals in six games

2014 Meetings:
These teams met during the regular season August 8-10 at Kauffman Stadium with Kansas City sweeping San Francisco. The Royals won 4-2 (W Jason Frasor, L Bumgarner S Holland), 5-0 (W Shields L Hudson) and 7-4 (W Danny Duffy L Tim Lincecum S Holland) over the Giants in this weekend series. Big Game James threw a four hit shutout in game two which was the pitching highlight between these teams.

Franchise History:
Kansas City leads the all-time series 9-3 and 7-2 at Kauffman Stadium, they also hold a 2-1 advantage at AT&T Park in the one series played there.

TV/Radio Coverage:
FOX will have TV coverage for the entire series between these teams with Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci in the both with Ken Rosenthal and Erin Andrews in each dugouts.

Handling FOX’s studio show which will be on-site from both ballparks will be Kevin Burkhardt who’ll be joined by analysts David Ortiz (first two games), Frank Thomas, Gabe Kapler and Nick Swisher

Radio coverage is available on the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) beginning an hour before with Josh Vernier. Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews will be joined in the booth by Ryan Lefebvre, Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart.

National Radio coverage is available on ESPN Radio with Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone providing the call.

FOX Sports Kansas City will be live after each game from San Francisco and at Kauffman Stadium for the World Series. Joel Goldberg will be joined by Jeff Montgomery, Rex Hudler and Lefebvre for analysis following the conclusion of each game.

Regular Season Series v. Giants (KC 3-0)
August 8-10, 2014 – Kauffman Stadium: W 4-2, W 5-0, W 7-4

All-Time Results v. Giants (KC 9-3)
June 13-15, 2003: Kauffman Stadium – W 6-1, L 7-4, W 5-4
June  7-9, 2005: SBC (now AT&T) 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, 2014: Kauffman Stadium – W 4-2, W 5-0, W 7-4

Game Notes:
San Francisco Giants
Kansas City Royals

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