2014 World Series Preview: Can The Giants Stop The Royals?
The Cinderella story of the Kansas City Royals meets the biennial excellence of the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series beginning on Tuesday in Kansas City. Here's a preview of what to expect in this year's edition of the Fall Classic:
Kansas City Royals vs. San Francisco Giants
How They Got Here: The American League champion Royals have been baseball's hottest team in October, winning eight games in a row beginning with an American League wild card game win over the A's and continuing with sweeps of the Angels and the Orioles in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively. The last time Kansas City lost a postseason baseball game was 1985, which was also the last (and only) time they won the World Series.
The National League champion San Francisco Giants shut out Pittsburgh in the National League wild card game, then tore through Washington and St. Louis in the NLDS and NLCS, respectively. They are no stranger to close games and extra-inning drama. They've also won World Series in 2010 and 2012. See a pattern emerging here?
Season Series: The Royals swept a three-game series against the Giants in Kansas City from Aug. 8-10, outscoring San Francisco by a combined 16-6 margin.
Why The Royals May Win: Because they can't lose right now. From clutch hits to miraculous catches to lock-down pitching from its bullpen, Kansas City has the look of a team of destiny. Outfielders Alex Gordon, ALCS MVP Lorenzo Cain and the rest of the lineup take a smart approach to hitting that helps the Royals score whenever they need a run. The bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland protects leads with nasty stuff.
Why The Giants May Win: Starting pitching changes momentum in a hurry. With the possible exception of the AL wild card game, the Royals have not faced a team with a better starting pitching staff than its own, until now. The Giants staff of NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong is very capable of hanging a lot of zeroes on the Kansas City lineup. At the plate, hitters like Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval know how to come up big in huge at-bats, even against the Royals' bullpen.
Key To The Series: Can the Giants make the Royals play from behind? Early runs could derail Kansas City's post-season train in a hurry. If the San Francisco bats can get their pen a lead, they can win. If not, Cinderella keeps dancing to a Royal blue pennant.
Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Kansas City, 8 p.m. (ET)
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Kansas City, 8 p.m. (ET)
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 24 at San Francisco, 8 p.m. (ET)
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 25 at San Francisco, 8 p.m. (ET)
Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 26 at San Francisco, 8 p.m. (ET) (if necessary)
Game 6: Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Kansas City, 8 p.m. (ET) (if necessary)
Game 7: Wednesday, Oct. 29 at Kansas City, 8 p.m. (ET) (if necessary)
All games on Fox