by Sam Martin
This year, the Major League Baseball World Series features two evenly matched teams with very different backstories. Representing the National League, the San Francisco Giants aim to earn their third World Series title since 2010. On the other hand, the Kansas City Royals find themselves in the postseason for the first time since 1985.
The World Series started last Tuesday, and at the time of this writing (prior to Sunday’s game), the series is tied 2-2. The Giants took game one in Kansas City, 7-1. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner threw seven innings with three-hit balls, allowing only one run on a home run by Royals catcher Salvador Perez. The Royals responded in game two, winning 7-2. Royals Designated Hitter Billy Butler led the charge going two for three with two RBIs. After a day off, the series headed to San Francisco for game three. The Royals won 3-2 in a game marked with defensive highlights, as both starting pitchers, KC’s Jeremy Guthrie and SF’s Tim Hudson, kept both offenses at bay.
Saturday night, Kansas City was on the fast track to winning, pulling out ahead 4-2 after four innings. However, San Francisco was able to beat the unbreakable Royals bullpen, tagging them for seven runs and 11 hits. San Francisco sent game one starter Madison Bumgarner back to the hill, while the Royals sent the suddenly vulnerable James Shields to pitch. With a win in this game, the Giants have taken a 3-2 lead and look to close out the series.
The key to a San Francisco victory will be for Bumgarner to continue to deliver stellar performances and to get an early lead before facing the Royals bullpen again. The task of putting up the runs for the Giants, falls upon the middle of the order with catcher Buster Posey, right fielder Hunter Pence, and third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
For Kansas City, the key to winning will be to outlast the Giants. If they are able to be the first team to beat Bumgarner this postseason, they will be in the driver’s seat to win the series as the rest of the seven game series will be played in Kansas City. To beat Bumgarner, they will need to string together hits and chip away at him, instead of trying to go for the knockout blow with a home run as they did in game one.