What began in Kansas City shall end in Kansas City.
After the Royals and Giants traded lopsided wins to open the 2014 World Series in KC, the teams traded a pair of vastly different victories in San Francisco to square the Series at 2-2 prior to Sunday’s fifth game. This meant that this season’s World Series champion would be crowned in the home of the AL Champions after either Game 6 or 7.
As the teams prepare for Game 6, the edge belongs to the Giants after San Francisco won Sunday night’s fifth game 5-0 on the strength of ace Madison Bumgarner’s complete game 4-hit shutout.
Heading into the World Series it was almost universally acknowledged that the Giants’ lefty was clearly the best starter on either staff with a huge dropoff to whichever pitcher would be considered next best.
Bumgarner was almost as brilliant in his Game 1 start, going 7 strong innings while allowing just a single run on 3 hits and 1 walk as the Giants won the opener 7-1.
The pitching matchup for Tuesday’s Game 6 will have the Giants’ Jake Peavy facing the Royals’ Yordano Ventura in a rematch of last Wednesday’s Game 2.
Neither pitcher was especially sharp but Ventura was slightly more effective than Peavy. Neither pitcher made it out of the sixth inning with Peavy allowing 4 runs and Ventura surrendering 4 in Kansas City’s 7-2 win that tied the series at a game apiece.
The selection in this column last week was for Kansas City to win the World Series in 6 games, factoring in the expectation that the Giants likely would win both of Bumgarner’s starts but that the Royals would win the other games.
The selection must now be modified to Royals in 7 with the plays in Game 6 and a potential Game 7 on Kansas City. The game that caused this prediction to be revised from 6 to 7 games was Game 4.
The Giants rallied to overcome a 4-1 deficit by scoring 10 unanswered runs in their 11-4 victory. As expected, the Royals got to Ryan Vogelsong early, scoring 4 runs against him as the Giants’ righty did not make it out of the second inning. But the Giants’ bullpen shut down Kansas City for the rest of that game.
A potential Game 7 matchup should be a repeat of Game 3 with the Giants’ Tim Hudson facing Jeremy Guthrie. Both pitched well in Game 3. The Royals won that game 3-2 as all the scoring came against the starters, both of whom pitched into the sixth inning. Both bullpens pitched the rest of the game and held their opposition scoreless.
The Royals have battled throughout the postseason, winning many tight games with their combination of speed, defense and timely hitting. They opened as -140 favorites in Tuesday’s Game 6 and are likely to also be favored if there is a seventh game matchup of Guthrie vs. Hudson.
The prediction is for the Royals to win the final two games and the World Series. But from a wagering standpoint the “value” would be on the Giants so the better play may be to focus on the Total.
At 7 or higher in both games, look for the UNDER to cash, especially with virtually the entire staffs of both teams to be available for spot duty if a key out is needed.
It’s been a great baseball season that will end with either the Giants winning a third World Series title in five seasons or with the Royals going two for two in their franchise World Series history with the wins coming 29 seasons apart.
Enjoy the offseason during which the big question will be where, or if, former Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon will take his talents. Considered one of the game’s best skippers, Maddon suddenly opted out of his contract in Tampa last week and will be wined and dined by several franchises, including those that currently have a manager in place. It promises to be an interesting winter but, even as we go to press, pitchers and catchers report in less than 120 days.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]