2014 World Series Preview: Giants Take It In Six

2014 World Series Preview: Giants Take It In Six

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This year’s World Series is one that is sure to be unique, which would be indicative of the entire postseason thus far. If someone were to say in the beginning of the season (let alone the beginning of the playoffs) that the Kansas City Royals would be playing in the World Series, you may have questioned their sanity. The San Francisco Giants are also a surprise, given their regular season inconsistencies.

 

These two teams got to the Series in rather similar fashion to one another. Firstly, during the regular season, both teams won fewer than 90 games. Both were also first place in their division at some point, yet both could not hold on to their lead. Both also had many doubters going into the playoffs because of how strong other teams were going into October (Tigers, Cardinals, Angels, etc.).

 

So, how exactly did these teams both get to this point?

 

The Kansas City Royals won 89 games during the regular season, falling just one game behind the Tigers for the AL Central division crown. They played just a few days later in the American League Wild Card play-in game against the Oakland Athletics, a game in which they were strong underdogs, and after a long and hard fought 12 inning affair, the Royals ultimately came back from four runs down, with the clutch hit (you’ll noticed this trend) to advance further into the playoffs.

 

In the next round against the American League’s winningest team, the La. Angels of Anaheim, it was as if the Royals were playing with their hair on fire. They constantly stole bases, played small-ball on offense, and came up with key catches in the outfield, along with timely homeruns from different members of the batting order to sweep the Angels in three games in a series many thought would have an opposite result.

 

In the American League Championship Series, Kansas City faced a Baltimore Orioles club with the second best record in the majors, another series many thought would be over before it even started. The Royals continued to do just enough to get by on offense and defense, and use their dominant bullpen to completely shut down Baltimore’s offense en route to yet another sweep, this time four games to none. (Yes, they have yet to lose a postseason game).

 

The San Francisco Giants won 88 games during the regular season, earning themselves the second NL Wild Card spot, and a match-up with the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card play-in game. The Pirates were stymied all throughout the game by superstar pitcher Madison Bumgarner, as he tossed a complete game shutout, as the Giants dominated Pittsburgh, winning 8-0.

 

In the next round of the playoffs, they played the National League’s winningest team, the Washington Nationals. In a match-up that was predicted to be dominated by pitching, neither team disappointed. The series was evenly played, and included an 18-inning marathon in which the Giants won, and ultimately went on to win the series 3 games to 1.

 

In the National League Championship Series against a familiar foe in the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants took advantage of every miscue by the Cardinals and went on the their third World Series in five years.

 

And finally, it’s prediction time.

 

Both of these teams play a similar style. Both steal bases, play terrific defense (the Royals have four potential Gold-Glovers), and come up with timely hits to defeat the opponent. Moreover, both clubs have managers who do wonderful jobs when the going gets tough, seemingly pushing the right buttons at every turn.

 

The big difference I see between these two teams is the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ side, despite winning seven straight in October. Conversely, the Giants have a stockpile of World Series wins on their belt; the Giants’ manager, Bruce Bochy, has been to four World Series in his managerial career, and has won three of them.

 

In summary, I believe the Giants will win their third World Series in five years, taking the series in six games, four to two, and the World Series MVP will be San Francisco’s star catcher, Buster Posey.