Tonight is Game Three of the 2014 World Series, here at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Giants will host the Kansas City Royals in what is turning out to be a well-matched series.
Both teams have won a game in Kansas City, so Game Three here in San Francisco is a pivotal game. If the Royals win they can close out the series here, or more likely, make sure the series returns to KC next week.
If the Giants win, then they have a chance of winning the World Series in their home park. But the two teams appear to be so evenly matched it’s most likely going to be a long series, ending in Kansas City.
Starting pitcher Tim Hudson of the Giants will have to pitch his best game and give them six solid innings. Their big hitters, starting with Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence, will have to score runs with their hits. They stranded eight in Game Two and they can’t afford to do that and expect to win.
For the Royals, their starter Jeremy Guthrie has to have the same kind of game he had 10 days ago against the Baltimore Orioles when he went five innings and only allowed one run. The Royals bullpen will need to have the same kind of game they did Wednesday and shut down the San Francisco bats.
And the Royals will need a repeat performance from their hitters; Norichika Aoki definitely needs to get on track. He has not had any offense in the first two games. Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain need to have big nights as well.
The new twist tonight is that there won’t be any designated hitters; we are in a National League park so the pitchers will swing the bat.
Hudson has had 53 at-bats, getting two runs, two walks and an RBI this season. Guthrie has had only five at-bats, striking out once. In the pitchers swinging the bat category, the Giants have the slight edge.
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The big news here though is from Los Angeles. After the Dodgers were eliminated from the post-season by the St. Louis Cardinals, management went out and got a new president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, who had been with the Tampa Bay Rays. At the time Friedman said manager Don Mattingly would definitely be in the Dodgers dugout for the 2015 season.
But many people speculated that Friedman would want to hire someone else, like his friend and Tampa Bay Rays manager, Joe Maddon.
Ten days ago Maddon said he was very happy in Tampa Bay and had no plans to leave. He told Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, “I want to continue to be a Ray, absolutely.”
Today Maddon and the Rays announced he was exercising the opt-out clause of his contract immediately. Earlier today Rays owner Stuart Sternberg released a statement saying, “As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015.”
Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times, “I have never had this opportunity to research my employment on my terms. Never, never, never. And I think anybody given the same set of circumstances would do the same thing.”
Right now all the sports news and Dodgers fans can do is guess about whether Don Mattingly keeps his job or not and if Joe Maddon will be the Dodgers’ Skipper in 2015.
To put to rest all the talk, Friedman issued this statement today:
“As I said last week, Joe and I enjoyed a tremendous relationship working together in Tampa Bay and I wish him nothing but the best wherever his next stop will be. However, nothing has changed on our end. Don Mattingly will be our manager next season and hopefully for a long time to come.”
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Now it’s almost time for Game Three of the 2014 World Series.
All photos by Claudia Gestro