Ah, October. We have been witness to some of the finest baseball. We’ve seen the Royals pull of a stellar run against the Angels and Orioles, starting in the Wild Card Game against the Athletics, and now we see them in the World Series. On the NL side, the Giants had a quiet, but dominant series. Starting with a win in the Wild Card game versus the Pirates, the Giants were able to beat the Nationals and Cardinals on their way to the fall classic. Now, we are witness to two stellar teams squaring up on the biggest stage of them all.
Leading up to October, the Royals had an interesting season. At the end of April, the Royals had a 14-12 record. In May, the Royals fell below .500 and had a record 26-29. In July, the Royals had a record of 43-39, with the help of a 10 game win streak. Come the All-Star break, Kansas City was two games above .500 with a 48-46 record. Come the trade deadline, the Royals had a 55-52 record and were four games back of the AL Central lead and 3.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot. In August, the Royals took off and finished 74-62 but ended the month on a four game losing streak. The Royals finished the season with a 89-73 and held the top spot in the Wild Card.
As for the Giants, they were a very streaky team. Throughout the season, the Giants had six streaks of five consecutive wins/losses. At the end of April, San Francisco was 17-11. When May was over with, the Giants were dominating the National League with a record of 37-20. In June, the Giants began to fall back down to reality finishing with a 47-36 record. Come the All-Star Break, the Giants had a record of 53-43 and were only half a game behind the Dodgers for the NL West lead and were up a game in the Wild Card. At the end of July, the Giants had a record of 59-50. In August, the Giants were swept by the Royals in Kansas City (foreshadow?) and ended the month on a six game win streak and with a 75-62 record. To conclude, the Giants ended the final month of baseball with a 88-74 record, earning them a spot in the NL Wild Card Game.
The Royals finished in the top of the league in team batting average (.263), in fourth. The Royals ranked 14th in runs scored (651), 16th in OBP (.314), and 19th in slugging percentage (.376). On paper, the batting side of Kansas City doesn’t look like that of a World Series team, but the Royals know how to play small ball. They hit a lot of singles with runners on base and know how to get runners home by any means necessary. The Royals do not have many extra base hits or pop in their lineup. Looking at their lineup, the Royals have very few weak spots and every batter contributes something. Perez has a high total base total, Hosmer has a high OPS, Infante drives in runs, Escobar swipes bags, Moustakas adds power into the lineup, Gordon scores runs, Cain is an all-around monster, Aoki has the speed to extend extra base hits, and Butler can make contact with the ball.
The Giants are in a similar situation as the Royals. On paper, their offense doesn’t seem like it could carry a team to the Fall Classic, but it did. San Francisco is 10th in the nation in batting average (.255), 12th in runs (665), 18th in OBP (.311), and 13th in slugging percentage (.388). The Giants have a lot of power in their lineup and always look to stretch a single into a double or a double into a triple. Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence are the big names that stand out in the lineup, but the Giants have been able to turn to second baseman Joe Panik, unknown by many, for consistent hitting in his short stint with the team.
The Royals pitching was stellar this year, combined for a team ERA of 3.51. All of the starters, except for Jeremy Guthrie, had an ERA of under 4.00. In the bullpen, Greg Holland recorded 46 saves, and ERA of 1.44. Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera have come in for starters to hold a lead or keep the Royals in contention. Also in the pen is the recently famous Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan has gained a lot of attention not only for his dominance, but for being the first player in history to play in the College World Series (pitched with TCU) and the World Series in the same year.
As for the Giants, there pitching has been very volatile. While they have a team ERA of 3.50, similar to that of the Royals, the starting rotation has two pitcher with an ERA under 3.00, Bumgarner and Peavy, and two pitchers with an ERA over four, Vogelsong and Lincecum. In the pen, Sergio Romo has been inconsistent in the closer role, but Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez have held it down in the 7th and 8th inning of ballgames.
While the Giants have the edge in batting and the Royals have the edge in pitching, the Royals have the edge in playing small ball. Also, the Royals get to start off at home and have been able to rest in Kansas City. Also, the Royals have been riding one of the best hot streaks in all of baseball, on an 9 game win streak dating back to Game 162. With this in mind, I am predicting that the Kansas City Royals win the World Series over the San Francisco Giants in five game. Tune in tonight to watch the first game at 8:07 on Fox.