Oct 29

World Series Day Seven, 2014

Giants at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

I wrote this at my other blog:

There’s no more dramatic phrase in sports, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve said so before and I’ll say it again: Game Seven is evocative of heroics on the field in do-or-die circumstances: Bill Mazeroski and Joe Carter’s home runs, Sid Bream’s slide, Carlos Beltran’s strikeout, Luis Gonzalez’s dribbler…so many instances of melodrama.

Tonight we see another Game Seven. It’s only the third time in 13 years the World Series has gone the full seven games and the fourth time in the last 20 years, so cherish it.

The Giants ask veteran Tim Hudson to hold the Royals in check as long as he can, and the Royals do the same with veteran Jeremy Guthrie. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner in reserve, since today would be his between-starts throw day; the Royals have their fearsome bullpen threesome, only one of whom has pitched since Game Four (Davis threw an inning in the Royals’ 5-0 Game Five loss).

I can’t wait.

Oct 28

World Series Day Six, 2014

Giants at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

Up three games to two, the Giants send Jake Peavy to the mound to try to win the Series for them tonight. The Royals counter with Yordano Ventura. This is a rematch of Game Two. Peavy went five innings, gave up six hits and four runs, walked two and struck out one, and took the loss. Ventura gave up two runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts in a no-decision in the same game.

Is history any guide?

Although teams playing at home down 3-2 in a best-of-seven World Series (2-3-2 formats only) are just 13-16 all-time, they’ve won it all in eight of the last 10 instances, including, most recently, the 2011 Cardinals and, most appropriately, the 1985 Royals. Only four road teams have won a Game 6 since 1980 — the 2003 Marlins, 1997 Indians, ’92 Blue Jays and ’81 Dodgers.

And how about this? Going back to 1982, when the home team wins Game 6 to tie a League Championship Series or World Series, that team is 14-1 in Game 7.

I’m rooting for a Game Seven, because I don’t want baseball to end before it has to. “Pitcher and catchers report” is still four months away.

Oct 26

World Series Day Five, 2014

Royals at Giants, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

MadBum goes for the Giants and Big Game James goes for the Royals. It’s a rematch of Game One’s starters, one the Royals hope will turn out better than the original did. Bumgarner held the Royals to a run on three hits and a walk over seven innings in that game, while Shields gave up five runs on seven hits and a walk and was gone after three innings.

Oct 25

World Series Day Four, 2014

Royals at Giants, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

The Giants ask veteran Ryan Vogelsong to put a stop to the Royals’ advance, while the Royals send Jason Vargas out to give them enough innings to get to their so-far lights-out bullpen. Vogelsong had a poor outing against the Cardinals in Game Four of the NLCS, lasting only three innings while giving up four runs on seven hits in a game the Giants eventually won. But he’s been a postseason horse for them in the past, making five postseason starts in which he compiled a 3-0 record, a 1.19 ERA and a .168 batting average against. The lefty Vargas has pitched 11 1/3 innings of nearly flawless baseball in the postseason, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks against the Angels and Orioles while holding them to a .135 batting average.

A bit of history: “Holland has now recorded seven saves this postseason, tying the record for a single postseason. He joins five others — John Wetteland (1996 Yankees), Robb Nen (2002 Giants), Troy Percival (’02 Angels), Brad Lidge (’08 Phillies) and Koji Uehara (’13 Red Sox).” Some pretty good names there.

Oct 24

World Series Day Three, 2014

Royals at Giants, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

You’d think MLB would put its weekend World Series games on during the day rather than at night, but I suppose it doesn’t want to compete with college football and the NFL.

It’s a battle of veterans as the Royals pitch Jeremy Guthrie while the Giants send out Tim Hudson. Guthrie was drafted and signed by the Indians in 2002. He was waived and came up for good with the Orioles in 2007. He spent a year in the National League with the Rockies and then was traded to the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez. He’s got an 83-100 lifetime record with a 4.23 ERA and a WHIP of 1.319. His start in the ALCS was his first postseason appearance.

Hudson has been around since 1999 when he came up with the As. He spent six years in Oakland and then nine in Atlanta. This is his first season with the Giants. He’s got a lifetime record of 214-124, an ERA of 3.45 and a WHIP of 1.233 over that stretch of 16 years. He’s been in 8 playoffs series but never on a winning team until this season.

The Royals won’t have a DH in the three games in San Francisco, so Billy Butler will be a pinch-hitter. Pablo Sandoval has now hit in 25 straight postseason games.

Oct 22

World Series Day Two, 2014

Giants at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

Kansas City’s rookie Yordano Ventura starts for the home team, while 13-year veteran Jake Peavy is on the hill for the visiting San Franciscans.

Insert paragraphs about “the team which goes up 2 games to none in a seven-game series wins umpty-ump percentage of the time” and blah blah blah. The Giants know that. The Royals know that. Neither team cares about it. It’s this Series they’re playing, not all those ones in the past.

That said, the Royals really would like to win at home tonight, to get the split and to get their fans excited.

Oct 21

World Series Day One, 2014

Giants at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

The Giants ask Madison Bumgarner to start the Series and do what he did in the Wild Card game and in Game One of the NLCS: give them a strong and long performance and get them off on the right foot in the Series. The Royals send James Shields to the mound. He also started the Wild Card game, although he didn’t do well in it (5 innings, 5 hits, 4 earned runs, ERA of 7.20). He then started Game Three of the ALDS and won it to send the Royals to the ALCS, where he pitched Game One against the Orioles. He didn’t do well in that game either, (5 innings, 10 hits, 4 earned runs, ERA of 7.20 again).

Have the two teams faced each other recently? Yes. In August the Giants went to Kauffman Stadium, where they were swept by the Royals, who were in the midst of a stretch where they won 14 of 16 games. San Francisco was outscored, 16-6, with Bumgarner taking one of those losses in a complete-game effort.

Fun fact: in all the postseason games so far, 14 have been decided by one run.

Not so fun fact: once again we get Joe Buck doing play-by-play. This time his partners are Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, with Ken Rosenthal near the Royals’ dugout and Erin Andrews outside the Giants’.

If you’re in your car, ESPN Radio will have the games, with play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone. The pregame and postgame show consists of host Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB Insider Peter Pascarelli and in-studio host Marc Kestecher.

Words from the new boss

Featured

From today’s press conference featuring new President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman:

“It’s going to be a good life lesson for me, because I’m not patient.”

That was in response to a rather insular question about his introduction to LA traffic, but it could be (the fans hope) a philosophy he’ll take toward addressing the team’s needs in getting them back to the World Series sooner rather than later.

Jon covered the show, and if you click the link above you’ll find more nuggets of wisdom from the new man.

I’ll leave this post at the top for a while, at least until the Series starts on Tuesday.

Oct 15

ALCS & NLCS Day Four, 2014

Orioles at Royals, 10:00AM HST/1:00PM PT, TV: TBS

Startlingly, the Royals are up three games to none in the ALCS. Today they send out lefty Jason Vargas to try to win the series. He last pitched in Game One of the ALDS against the Angels, giving up two home runs over six innings. He’s 2-3 with a 1.94 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Orioles. Vargas will face a very well-rested Miguel Gonzalez, who hasn’t pitched since September 28.

Cardinals at Giants, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the series on a Randy Choate throwing error in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s game. They’ll put Ryan Vogelsong on the hill Wednesday night against Shelby Miller of the Cards. Vogelsong went 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals in his NLDS appearance October 7, giving up two hits and one run. Miller gave up five hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings the same day in his NLDS outing against the Dodgers.