We interrupt this regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you thoughts on the 2014 World Series. And by regularly scheduled, I mean my average of five-measly-posts-every-two-years. I've been battling crippling writer's block for the better part of two years but decided to fight and claw my way out with a little World Series preview that focuses on the National League side of the matchup.
Kauffman Stadium. Photo courtesy of KansasCity.com
The San Francisco Giants are, thus far, easily the most successful team of the 2010's. The '10's? Ten-ties? Have we actually settled on a name for this decade yet? I digress…
The Giants win the pennant. Photo courtesy of ABC 7 News
For all their success, they are surprisingly likable. Between San Francisco's eccentric fan base and eclectic roster, the Giants are an easy bunch to root for. You've got the boy-next-door, wholesome appeal of Buster Posey, the lovable enthusiasm of the "Kung Fu Panda," Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence and his excellent taste in headbands and motivational speeches, and a trio of starting pitchers more country than… Any famous country trio you can think of (country music is not my forte).
Travis Ishikawa and Ryan Vogelsong both have incredible stories of toiling in the minors and Japanese leagues before persevering and making an impact at the big league level, and Yusmeiro Petit has been the stand-out player of the postseason thus far thanks to his stellar long-relief outings, including an unforgettably dominant performance in the epic, 18-inning affair between the Giants and Nationals in the NLDS.
San Francisco's rotation is anchored by true ace Madison Bumgarner, the unshakable 25-year-old that pitches like a crafty veteran. Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, and the aforementioned Vogelsong are all solid starters who will likely be more reliant on the Giants' impressive bullpen than Game 1 starter Bumgarner. Santiago Casilla usurped the closer's role from Sergio Romo in September and has excelled in the postseason, posting a 0.98 ERA in 22 games. Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez have also done some heavy lifting in relief and been excellent, neither allowing an earned run in the nine playoff games so far. Manager Bruce Bochy is another asset and gives the Giants an edge over the Royals, especially given Ned Yost's sometimes baffling decisions that the Royals have so far overcome and managed to win in spite of.
Bumgarner, Peavy, and Hudson. Photo courtesy of The New York Times
The only San Francisco liability to this point is Hunter Strickland, who has had a penchant for giving up massive home runs every time he takes the mound. The Giants are also very light on power, but so are the Royals, so if you're a fan of small ball, you're bound to enjoy this.
Hunter Strickland gives up another Bryce Harper home run. Photo courtesy of Mercury News
My prediction for the series is San Francisco in 6. If the World Series had started within a day or two of Kansas City clinching their first World Series berth since 1985, I truly believe they'd have surged ahead, stayed hot, and won it all. But the young and highly inexperienced team had the wind knocked out of their sails with the long layoff and could struggle to regain the red-hot form they showcased throughout October. It will be six nail-biting games that will ultimately see the Giants continue their trend of taking home the trophy in even years (2010, 2012, 2014?).
Let the games begin.