The Kansas City Royals will make their first appearance in the World Series since 1985 when they host the San Francisco Giants in Game 1. The Royals are 8-0 this postseason, taking the wild card route to the pennant, just like the Giants, who are in the World Series for the third time in five seasons.
Madison Bumgarner will take the hill for the Giants in the series opener despite losing to the Royals during the regular season. James Shields, who pitched a four-hit shutout against the Giants in August, starts for the Royals. Both teams feature strong bullpens and rosters full of unlikely heroes, like Giants outfielder Travis Ishikawa, who hit a walk-off, three-run home run to end the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals.
Giants closer Santiago Casilla hasn’t allowed a run in 12 consecutive appearances, while his Royals counterpart Greg Holland has converted 26 straight save opportunities, including six in the postseason.
Keep an eye on Eric Hosmer and Pablo Sandoval. Hosmer is batting .448 in the postseason while Sandoval is hitting .326.
The Royals swept a three-game home series against the Giants in August, stealing seven bases in the finale.
Madison Bumgarner (2-1, 1.42 ERA) vs. James Shields (1-0, 5.63 ERA)
Madison Bumgarner has pitched at least seven innings in each of his four postseason starts and is holding his opponents to a .170 average. He gave up four runs (three earned) and seven hits in eight innings in the regular season loss to the Royals, as Billy Butler had a home run and three RBIs. Bumgarner is 2-0 and hasn’t allowed a run in 15 World Series innings, blanking the Rangers on three hits in eight innings in 2010 and the Tigers on two hits over seven innings in 2012.
James Shields has struggled in the postseason, giving up 21 hits in 16 innings, as his opponents hit .309 against him. Shields was at the top of his game in the regular season outing against the Giants, striking out five and walking one while tossing his ninth career shutout. He won his lone career World Series start, beating the Phillies in 2008 as he gave up seven hits in 5 2/3 scoreless frames as a member of the Rays.