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Bleu Sports World Series Preview 2014

#bleusports #fallclassic #clashofunderdogs

By Angel L. Quiles Jr.

The World Series will commence tonight between the battle-tested San Francisco Giants, and the Cinderella Kansas City Royals. This fall classic should be one of the most electric in recent history. Both teams have fan bases that love their teams more than Americans love social media, and both teams are hotter than the sun in Arizona during a summer day.

The Royals after an unbelievable run to make the playoffs, and an even more improbable undefeated campaign in the American League playoffs. Will be looking to win their first World Series title since the George Brett led team in 1985. The Giants on the other hand will be on a mission to win their third World Series in the last five years. Therefore, cementing their franchises legacy as one of the greatest teams of the last 50 years.

American sports fans love a good underdog. However, there is no underdog in this World Series. Both teams entered the playoffs as a wild card, both won under 90 games, and both have more momentum than a freight train.

Lets take a look at how these teams matchup on the field.

Position- Starting Pitching

The Giants have the best starter out of anyone hurling the baseball in Madison Bumgarner. In 31.2 innings pitched this post-season. He has 28 strikeouts and a puny 1.42 earned run average. His opponent batting average against him is .170. Nevertheless, all these impressive stats mean nothing like a Lindsay Lohan apology, if Bumgarner does not win all his starts against the Royals. Moreover, the other Giants starters such as, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson have to find a way to keep any leads they acquire, and go deep into games. Doing so as well as, keeping the speed players on Kansas City off the bases should help build momentum. All three have pitched well this post-season and should continue to do so.

Lets face it the Royals haven’t won many games this post-season because of their so-called best pitcher James Shields. He has an earned run average over five runs, and has not been able to go deep into games. Honestly, he should not be the number one starter, and that could come back to bite the Royals like a Cobra. The Giants are not a team you give leads to because they will run away and never look back. The only decent starter has been Jason Vargas who has been able to keep his earned run average under three. The Royals have been great this post-season but it’s not because of their starting pitching.

Advantage- San Francisco Giants

Position- Bullpen

Everyone thinks the Royals bullpen is the greatest thing in the world since the invention of the iPod. However, the Giants bullpen has a better ERA 1.78 to the Royals 1.80. The reason why the Giants bullpen doesn’t get any love is because their starters have actually done their jobs.

The Royals starters have not been great forcing their bullpen to pick up the slack. Fire-ballers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland have been an unstoppable trio out of the bullpen in the 2014 post-season. Combined they have pitched 25.2 innings, and have a miniscule 1.07 ERA. They are the reason the Royals have been successful.

Advantage- Kansas City Royals

Position- First Base

Kansas City Eric Hosmer has been a beast this postseason. His slugging percentage is .759, his batting average is a ridiculous .448 and his on base plus slugging percentage is 1.314. He has two homeruns, and has played a stellar first base.

Brandon Belt hasn’t been too shabby himself. He has driven in six runs this post season, and is batting .286. However, he has not been the super-star Hosmer has been.

Advantage- Kansas City

Position- Second Base

San Francisco’s Joe Panik has done everything but panic this post-season. He has played an amazing second base, and has come up with some clutch hits. In 10 games he has driven in five runs, and has not been an easy out all post-season.

Omar Infante has looked overwhelmed at the plate. He has struck nine times, and is batting a measly .207 with an on-base percentage of .294.

Advantage- San Francisco Giants

Position- Short Stop

Alcides Escobar has been a nice surprise for the Kansas City Royals. The short stop is batting .278, has three extra base hits and has driven in three runs this post-season. He has not looked shaken by the Royals success and has played good defense.

Brandon Crawford hasn’t been as consistent at the plate. However, he has driven in five runs, and hit a huge grand slam against the Pirates in the Giants Wild Card playoff victory. Since then he has been relatively quiet at the plate.

Advantage- Kansas City Royals

Position- Third Base

The Giants Pablo Sandoval has been arguably their most clutch player in their magical runs in the post-season. Who can forget his three-homerun game against the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 Word Series, with two of those jacks coming off of CY Young award winner Justin Verlander. Sandoval is a playoff monster, and this year is no different. His batting average is .326 and has 14 hits thus far in the present Giant playoff run.

Nevertheless, Mike Moustakas of Kansas City has been a nightmare for opposing pitchers. He has hit four clutch homeruns, and has made defensive plays that have left fans jaws on the floor. The only issue with Mike is his homeruns have been his only extra base hits. In order to beat the Giants Mike will have to do a little more.

Advantage- San Francisco Giants

Position- Catcher

There is no competition in this department of the breakdown. Buster Posey of the Giants is a former MVP and two-time World Series champion. He is batting over .300 and has been as consistent as always. The main issue Posey will face is trying to keep the Royal speed players from stealing bases. He has only thrown out 25 percent of the base stealers that have tried to steal a bag against him this post season.

However, that is the same percentage of base-stealers that have been caught by the Royals Salvador Perez. The difference is that Perez can’t hit like Posey.

Advantage- San Francisco Giants

Position- Outfield

The Royal outfield catches everything. Jarrod Dyson, Lorenzo Cain, and Alex Gordon are extremely dynamic, and athletic. They finished third, fourth and ninth in defensive runs saved this season, and give the fly ball pitchers on K.C. all the help they can get. In addition, they have seven stolen bases this post-season combined. Cain has been dynamic at the plate as well batting .343 in the playoffs. Meanwhile Alex Gordon hasn’t hit well but he has been able to get on base, and is sporting a .400 on base percentage. If you know anything about Kansas City baseball, it’s that all they need to do to score runs is get people on base. Their speed causes havoc for opposing defenses, and forces unearned runs.

San Francisco’s outfield is not extra-ordinary and could be their weakest link. Travis Ishikawa has played well at the plate, and has driven in seven runs this post season. However, he is not a natural outfielder and it showed in game five of the National League Championship Series when he missed played a ball in the outfield. Hunter Pence needs to step up a little bit more offensively. Pence has played solid defense, but in order for San Francisco to give K.C. knockout blows that test their resolve. Hunter Pence must drive in as many runs as he has available. Gregor Blanco has been dismal at the plate, and if he continues as such look for manager Bruce Bochy to find a replacement.

Advantage- Kansas City Royals

Position- Managers

Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants has been to the World Series four times, and is looking for his third ring. His team is a resemblance of him, a man that doesn’t quit and doesn’t get rattled under adverse situations. Therefore, look for the Giants to take all the heavy hits Kansas City can afford to give.

Ned Yost at this moment is the king of Kansas City, and considered by fans to be a miracle worker and the man with the Midas touch. However, Ned has made some questionable decisions this post-season. Namely pulling starters before experts thought he should. However, it’s easy to make those decisions when your bullpen is blowing people out the water. The Giants however, are a different animal and will take advantage of panic moves.

Advantage- San Francisco

Baseball fans look forward to a fall classic with two unlikely combatants from two amazing baseball towns. However, there will only be one winner.

Prediction

San Francisco Giants defeat the Kansas City Royals (4-2)

Angel L. Quiles Jr. is a sports writer from New York, NY. His passion for professional sports was spawned in the school yards of East Harlem. There he learned how to play football, baseball, and basketball. East Harlem is also where he played little league baseball. At the age of twelve he made the 25th precincts police athletic leagues little league all-star team. That team was invited to play against Fort Lee, New Jersey's all-star team in a game at the original Yankee Stadium. The game was covered by Mr. G's show "Care for kids" a community based program on the old WPIX channel 11 in New York City. Angel never made it to the big leagues, but the show and his passion for sports made Angel realize that he didn't have to play the game professionally in order to be around it. He could become a sports writer, be able to cover the drama of sports, and hopefully make a living doing and watching what he loves.

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