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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Game one should dictate entire Series

Both the Giants and the Royals have pretty much steam-rolled their way into the World Series as the obvious two best teams in their league during the playoffs. While the Royals have gone undefeated to this point in October, the Giants have lost just two, and both teams have plenty of momentum heading into Tuesday night's game one.

There's been so much breakdown of this series over the last few days, and I'm sure we've heard just about every body's opinion at this point, so I'm just gonna keep it short and simple. Each team will send their ace to the mound in game one, with Madison Bumgarner facing James Shields, giving the edge in the pitching match-up to the Giants. That should be the theme of the series, as the Giants' starters are stronger and more experienced than KC's. However, when we get into the bullpen, it's a whole different story. The Giants' pen has been nails, for the most part, this postseason, though they've been prone to giving up the long ball. The Royals' pen has been stingy, and they have a line of guys who can dominate innings down there. This is not a team the Giants will have an easy time coming from behind against like they were able to do against Washington and St. Louis, especially in the late innings, so the theme for San Francisco should be getting some runs on the board early. You may see more bunting and hit and runs earlier in the game than usual for that reason.

The Royals are gonna run on the Giants like no other team the Giants have seen this year, and it's going to be a challenge for both Buster Posey as well as the Giants pitchers to keep those guys from running wild. Kansas City led baseball in stolen bases this season, and have pretty much run at every opportunity in the playoffs. I said these two teams were very similar in the way they both put pressure on the defense, but they do it in different ways. The Giants will grind out at-bats, work counts, make the defense stay on the field and challenge them to make plays. They've gotten thrown out at home a few times, but for the most part, that formula has worked. The Royals, however, are going to try and get on base and run on you. They do have some pop throughout the lineup, but really play more like a National League team than any other American League team I saw this year.

Now, I read a position vs. position breakdown of this series a couple of days ago, and I think it ended up pretty even. I think this series is going to really come down to who pitches better, makes less mistakes in the field and can jump out to early leads. Neither of these bullpens are likely to give up leads late, so whichever team has the lead into the seventh inning is more than likely gonna keep that lead. The big wild card for me in this series will be the DH for the Giants. They'll finally get to use Michael Morse Tuesday and Wednesday in games one and two, which will drastically help out their lineup. The Giants haven't hit many long balls this October, but the ones they've hit have been huge, and one of those came off the bat of Morse, who's only had a couple at-bats since mid-September and hasn't played steadily since mid-August. Even if Morse tears it up in the two games in KC and can play the field for 6-7 innings, I don't think Boch will tinker with left field when the series moves back to San Francisco, especially with how clutch Ishi's been.

With the Giants experience in the playoffs and superior starting pitching, I think you have to give the slight edge to them, even though nobody has been able to figure out KC this month. Of course, Vegas has the Giants as underdogs, as you can see the odds at AllPro, and many are calling this series a match-up of destiny vs. dynasty. I'm gonna put my money on the dynasty and say the Giants win this thing in six. Game one will be huge though, cause if they can hand the Royals their first loss of the playoffs, it may rattle them a bit, whereas if KC knocks around MadBum and takes game one, they may feel like nobody can stop them (if they don't already). I'll probably check back in tomorrow after the game as I wont be able to post again tonight.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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