2014 World Series Preview

In the bottom of the 8th inning in Kansas City during the AL Wild Card Game, the Royals were down 7-3 to the Oakland A’s.

Now, they’re playing for a ring.  With the insane rally, it sparked a fire that no one has been able to put out.  The Royals haven’t lost this postseason, beating the A’s, and sweeping the Angles and Orioles.  It is absolutely incredible, and the funniest thing is, we didn’t see it coming.

Really, nobody saw it coming.

Including me, a fan of this (or these) teams.  I picked against the Royals all postseason.  By the end of this column, it may be the same case.

And they’ve burned me every time.  Now, I did think they would be competitive.  I didn’t think they were going to get swept out of the Playoffs.

And it’s gone the complete opposite way.  The Royals are owning everyone, and taking everyone by storm.  Kansas City, where my Mom grew up, and a place I’ve lived, isn’t only in shock, but is turning into a complete madhouse.  The whole town has Royal fever.

A title would just pile it on.  The opponent though, has other ideas.

The Giants, who have battled their own way here, are coming off one of the most dramatic wins ever in postseason history.  A walkoff home run to win the National League Championship, just like Bobby Thompson did 63 years ago, for the same team.  This time, though, it was Travis Ishikawa.

Now, if I hadn’t lived in the Bay Area at anytime in 2014, I probably wouldn’t of known who Ishikawa was.  But having lived 40 minutes east of San Francisco, I did know who he was, and I’ve also watched these Giants.  Watch them win.

The Giants, with possibly winning this World Series, would win three championships within five years.  That’s a incredible feat.  Giants fans (like me and many friends) would be going absolutely insane, and San Francisco would truly become a baseball town.

So who’s going to win this thing?  Well, that’s what I’m going to try to figure out.  In the end, my prediction, probably won’t be right.  However, in previous columns, my main points have been correct, but the outcome is opposite.

Let’s start with the bullpens, for each side, because both of them are great.

Both teams have incredible bullpens that haven’t given up anything to anyone this postseason.

They’re so good, there isn’t much words for them.

These teams have destroyed other teams bullpens though, which is where the main focus is.

Hitting is going to play a huge part in this series.  Both teams have great lineups, and have proved it this postseason.  The Royals offensive explosion has been a complete surprise.  Nobody saw this coming.  A team that hit so bad during the season is averaging just over five runs a game this postseason.  It’s incredible.

The Giants though, have a killer lineup of their own.  In a different way though.  The Giants can strike at anytime.  They’ve got some big time power guys, like Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt.  The Giants are a team that doesn’t usually have a big inning, though it is possible.  The Giants spread their offense out.  It doesn’t come in huge plates.  And they hit home runs, unlike the Royals.

The Royals feed off the big inning.  Getting men on base is their specialty.  Why?  Because they have guys who steal the bag.  They’ve stole 13 bases this postseason.  In eight games!  They get base hits, which advance the runners.  It’s quite simple.  Even though they have hit the ball out of the park better, it’s still not great.  They’ve lived up to the 30th in the league ranking in HR’s.

This series is going to come down to if the pitchers on both teams can get past the lineups.   The Giants pitching has been phenomenal, and that starts with Madison Bumgarner, who has taken the league by storm.  With a ERA of 1.42 this postseason in three starts, he’s struckout 28 batters.  Right now, he’s the best pitcher on this team.  They’ve fed off him.  He hasn’t blown anything.  He hasn’t even pitched a bad game.

The other pitchers on the Giants are good.  They’ve gotten the job done.  And really, that’s what they need to do.  Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson have provided solid starts.  The bullpen of the Giants though, has to be able to get past the Royals lineup.  The Royals lineup gets those big innings usually after the 5th inning, because that’s when they need those runs.  The small handful of Royals who can hit the HR is who the Giants need to avoid.  When those guys come up in clutch situations, that’s when the trouble occurs.

However, AT&T Park isn’t the most hitter friendly park, and for a overall bad hitting team like the Royals, it won’t help them out much.

The Royals pitching staff though, is pretty good also.  Led by James Shields, the starting pitching has done well so far.  The Royals pitchers aren’t the types that are going to strike you out every time.  They live off the ground ball.  The Giants, as said above are more of a power team.  It may be tricky for the Royals to strike them out, because the range of the Giants hitters is ridiculous.  San Francisco has good amount of gap hitters, who are going to put the ball on the ground.  Giving the Royals incredible defense, the base hits should be limited.

But then again, the Giants know their ball park the best.

Both of these team’s defenses are just incredible.  The Royals have shut gaps in the infield, and have caught close to everything in the outfield.  With amazing catches by Hunter Pence and Lorenzo Cain,  the outfields are magnificent.  We saw though, in the NLCS, that the Cardinals, and even the hometown Giants, had trouble seeing the ball at AT&T Park.  Both teams dropped easy catches, but it’s not like the drops really meant anything.

Now, I got to throw this in, but the Panda (Pablo Sandoval), one my favorite players in the Majors (I own his jersey) has played incredible so far, but not at the plate.  The Panda has made some incredible plays at 3rd base this postseason.

That’s just one of them……

Alright.  It’s time to make a final call.  Two of my favorite teams, playing for the World Series.  It really is a household divided at my place.  My Mom rooting for her hometown Royals, and my Dad rooting for the Giants.  I’ve decided I’m not rooting for either team, because I’ll be happy no matter who wins.  My prediction, though, probably won’t be right, like almost every postseason series this Fall.

This Fall Classic is one where, I’ll truly be able to enjoy baseball.  I won’t have a biased opinion, I won’t pull for one team over the other.

(The only time I’m not rooting for one team in championship series/game is if it’s two of my most hated teams, for example, if a 49ers-Steelers Super Bowl were to happen)

So.

Prediction: Giants in 5

 

One thought on “2014 World Series Preview

  1. Pappa Jim

    Hunter, a great review! I agree, the Giants in 5. If I heard it right, the winner of the first game, the Giants,
    have won 15 out of the last 17 World Series.

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