2014 World Series Preview

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The World Series is here after a long season has produced two teams ready to put their names at the top of the MLB. This year those two teams will be the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Both teams have come out of nowhere to get here and have had a very similar path to the final series of the season. The Royals and Giants found their way to the postseason through the wild card as neither could win their division battles. From the wild card both teams have been dominant with only one loss between them, that one loss was by the Giants in the NLCS. Other than that blemish both teams have not lost this year and despite some very close games they have been able to find their way to the World Series. Although their paths to the World Series this year these teams are on very opposite ends of the spectrum heading into the biggest series of the year. The Giants have been here before and have been here recently with a lot of success. The Royals simply have not. The last time that the Royals were in the World Series was 1985 which was also their last postseason appearance. It is safe to say that not one of the players from this World Series team was on the 1985 team, and in many cases the players on the Royals had not even been born yet. That is the streak that has existed for the Royals and their fans as some fans and players have never seen the Royals succeed. They broke that long postseason drought this year and have been the most dominant team in the postseason as they have yet to lose a game. Meanwhile the Giants are getting pretty comfortable in making the postseason as it has become a habit for them. For the last four years the Giants have been a regular contender for the postseason and for the World Series. Aside from 2011 when they missed the postseason the Giants have played October baseball every year. It started in 2010 when the Giants made it into the postseason and moved all the way to the World Series. They won the title that year and in 2012 added their second in three years. They have been one of the most successful teams since 2010 and are in the World Series for the third time in the last five seasons. In that time they have won every World Series they have been a part of and will try to continue that trend this year in their third championship. There are plenty of players on this Giants team that have been here before and few that haven’t but overall this team is not going to be shook. It is the matchup of the experienced against the non-experience this year as one team is brand new, yet dominant, in the postseason and the other has been there and done that over the last few seasons. The only question is whether or not experience will win over one of the hottest teams in the MLB heading into the postseason. Whatever the case two teams that have rarely struggled this year in the postseason will face off in what could be a great series to determine the best team in the MLB.


Kansas City Royals

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The Royals are not used to this position as this team has not been in this series for a long time after breaking their postseason drought that ran back to 1985. That lack of experience is usually a bad thing for teams that need to figure out how to play with that type of pressure. Teams without this experience can often crumble under the pressure and make stupid mistakes that the more experienced teams do not. If that is the case though nobody has told the Royals who are continuing to win despite being the most inexperienced team in the postseason. They have yet to lose a game in the postseason. It has not come very easily for the Royals though as they have played plenty of close games. From the start of the postseason it seemed like the Royals were in for a long haul. Their wild card game went 12 innings before they finally got past the Oakland Athletics and the rest of the postseason has gone much the same way. Still despite the long games and the emotional roller coaster that the Royals have been on they continue to win games. They have done it with some of the best run production in the postseason and that run production has come at great times. They are not ranked at the top of the rankings for most offensive categories but they do have the ability to put up runs. Despite their lack of power they have found ways to produce the most runs in the postseason with a total of 42 runs and 40 RBIs this year. On the other side of the game the Royals have not had the best showing from their pitching staff. The top guy for the Royals was supposed to be James Shields but in the postseason he has not lived up to that billing. He has the worst ERA out of the starters, 5.63 while the second man who was to carry the pitching staff, Yordano Ventura, has the second worst ERA, 4.83, on the team. Instead it has been the two pitchers who were not supposed to be the leaders in Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas that are now leading the way. Overall the Royals are just a team that can’t seem to find a way to lose. They continue to win and find ways to pull out the wins which could be the best thing to have when you’re in the World Series. If they can continue to do this they may be on their way to their first championship since 1985.

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San Francisco Giants

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The Giants come into the World Series as the experienced team that has been here before and has reached the top of the mountain. With a World Series title in 2012 much of the same team returned for this year with the Giants still having their core players from two years ago. Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Ryan Voglesong, and Madison Bumgarner are all members of that 2012 championship team. That can provide a lot of advantages for them as they are a team that will rarely be shaken. The team is will not be rattled if they go down late in a game or are facing elimination. If they lose it will only be because the Royals found a way to win rather than the Giants find a way to lose. That experience has helped the Giants to win all but one game this postseason including an 8-0 blowout win in the wild card that showed they were ready to make some noise in the postseason. The experience team struggled to start the year but are getting hot at the right time and are in their third World Series in five years. They hope to take that experience and win their third World Series Championship since 2010. They are doing it much of the same way as well with great pitching and timely hitting. Throughout the postseason the Giants have got the runs they need when they need them but ultimately they have relied on their pitching to carry them through. The highlight has been their starting staff where Madison Bumgarner has been the best starting pitcher in the postseason. As one of the most active pitchers in the postseason Bumgarner has pitched 31 2/3 innings and yet has a 1.42 ERA. He has been lights out for the Giants while Jake Peavy has followed up as their second best pitcher. They have not received a lot from their other pitchers but their bullpen has saved the day any time that a starter gets in trouble. As for their hitting it is typically not the strongest in the postseason ranking among the worst in team average. Yet they, much like the Royals, have been able to pull of big hits at opportune times. They have come up big in the right times with Sandoval and Posey continuing to lead the way and Michael Morse starting to show his promise. The Giants are built almost identically to their 2010 and 2012 World Series teams and with so much experience it is hard to say that they can’t win this championship too unless the hot streak of the Royals derails their championship hopes.

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Prediction:
The matchup of experience versus inexperience is an interesting one especially since it is hard to determine which team is playing better right now. The Giants hold the only loss between the two teams in the postseason so an argument can be made for the Royals but the pitching of the Giants has been so strong. For the Royals it is a chance to win their first World Series Championship since 1985 while for the Giants it is a chance to become the dynasty of the 2010s. In the end the Royals will be pushed to their limits and will break having to climb back for the first time. It won’t be easy for the Giants but they will take home their third World Series title in the last five years.

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