This World Series is intriguing because the Giants and the Royals are evenly matched. This is the second all Wild Card World Series, the first time being in 2002 when the Giants lost to the Angels, and the Giants and the Royals are very different, yet, very similar.
After a losing season in 2013 the Giants are back in the World Series. Madison Bumgarner has put the Giants on his back. He left Game 5 of the National League Championship Series trailing but he had settled in after a while. He has validated himself as a true ace after his dominance in the Wild Card game against the Pirates, plus Game 1 of National League Championship Series and what he did last night. Bumgarner has been a better postseason pitcher on the road than at home, which is something to consider ahead of the Fall Classic.
The Giants didn’t hit a home run in the first four games of the National League Championship Series but that changed in Game 5, as Joe Panik homered, as well as Michael Morse to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. The Cardinals had a chance to take the lead back in the top of the 9th but they left the go ahead run on third base and then Travis Ishikawa sent the Giants to their third World Series in the last five years with a walk off three-run home run off Michael Wacha in the bottom of the 9th inning. It’s impressive that the Giants won three games without the long ball, but it wouldn’t hurt to hit some home runs in Kansas City.
Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo were in the bullpen when the Giants won the 2010 World Series and they were in the bullpen when they won the 2012 World Series. Now the Giants are back in the Fall Classic with that same bullpen. Casilla ran into some trouble last night but Affeldt bailed him out and got the win. In five games, those four relievers combined to give up 1 run on 6 hits to the 2013 National League Championship. The Cardinals didn’t always make it easy on them but Lopez, Casilla, Affeldt and Romo almost always prevailed with the exception of Game 2.
Who could have predicted that the Royals would be in this position, 29 years after their last World Series title? The Royals were down by four runs against Jon Lester and the Athletics in the bottom of the 8th inning in the American League Wild Card Game before coming back and sweeping their way through the Angels, the team with the best record in baseball in the regular season and the Orioles, who were competitive in every game of the American League Championship Series despite being swept.