After 162 regular season games and a post-season schedule of eight games for the Kansas City Royals and 10 for the San Francisco Giants; all of that comes down to this, the best of seven World Series. Everything these two teams have accomplished since opening day has been for the opportunity to play here at this time, to be the last two teams standing.
The Royals seem to have the edge, not just because they have the home field advantage, but also because they have not lost a game in the post-season. The Giants have only lost two post-season games, one each to the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.
Tonight’s Game One will set the tone for the series. If it’s a tight game it will be a tight, unpredictable series, the winner undecided until the final out of the final game.
On paper the Giants have a big advantage in that they will start their best pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, who has a post season ERA of 1.42. James Shield, the Royals Game One starter, has a post season ERA of 5.63. But he has not lost in the three games he’s pitched in the post season.
For the Royals to win, they need their bats to upset Bumgarner’s game; play that famous small ball style and push runs across the plate, forcing Bumgarner to throw a lot of pitches and get him out of the game before the 6th inning.
Conversely the Royals need Shields to go deep into the game, at least six innings. The Royals’ mid relief bullpen hasn’t pitched since October 2, nearly three weeks ago. If the Giants get to Shields early — and the Royals try to push Shields to pitch deeper into the game, the advantage goes to the Giants.
Madison Bumgarner has not had a bad start in the post-season and he’s gone deep in every game, pitching 31 and 2/3 innings. The Royals have to eliminate Bumgarner quick and early. If the Royals can’t do that then the Giants will win Game One.
For some perspective on the two teams: the last time the Giants and the Royals met in Kauffman Stadium (August 8-10), the Royals swept the Giants.
Some final, funny notes: In San Francisco several radio stations have banned the Lorde song “Royals” from being played on the air, but here in KC everyone is playing it. It’s part of the fun going on around the World Series. The mayors of San Francisco and Kansas City made their friendly bets. If the Giants win KC mayor Sly James will sing with the Glide Ensemble and Change Band at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco and serve meals to the homeless. Along with that Mayor James will give San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee some famous Kansas City barbecue and jazz Records.
If the Royals win, Mayor Lee will read to third graders in Kansas City and give Mayor James Humphry some Boudin sourdough bread, Slocombe ice cream and Philz coffee.
But now it is time for the players to answer all the questions and speculation as Game One of the 2014 World Series gets under way.