After five days off, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals are set to begin the 2014 World Series tonight at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night. Madison Bumgarner and James Shields will toe the rubber for their respective clubs in game one of the best of seven series. The Giants left-hander has been on a torrid pace so far this October, boasting a 1.42 ERA in over 30 innings pitched. In Bumgarner’s 4 starts, the Giants ace has only allowed batters to reach base at a 0.76 clip. James Shields, on the other hand, hasn’t enjoyed the same success as Bumgarner has this fall. In three starts, the Kansas City ace has collected 16 innings pitched, and holds an ERA north of 5.00. Shields sandwiched a solid start against the Angels in the ALDS, in between a bad Wild Card game outing and a sub-par showing in his only ALCS start. While Shields doesn’t have much of a career against the Giants, he did hurl a notable outing against his World Series foes earlier this season. In his only start against San Francisco, Shields tossed a complete game shutout, surrendering just four hits while walking one and punching out five. Similarly, Shields’ counterpart in game one doesn’t boast a long history against the Royals, but does feature a notable 2014 regular season start. In August of this year, Madison Bumgarner tossed 123 pitches in eight frames and allowed four runs on seven hits, in a 4-2 loss to Kansas City. While neither starter’s brief history against their opponent means much of anything (especially in the playoffs), both pitchers know the importance of grabbing an early series lead, an will try and do so on Tuesday evening.
- The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants are both share a common goal, but are trying to accomplish that goal for different reasons. First there’s the Giants, a team with a truck load of success recently, searching for their third World Series crown in five seasons. On the other side of the diamond, there’s the Kansas City Royals; a storied franchise looking to atone for close to 30 years of pent-up frustrations. You can simply describe the 2014 World Series as Destiny vs. Dynasty. (Destiny vs. dynasty in the World Series)
- As Yoenis Cespedes enters the final season of his current contract with Boston, the 29-year old could be preparing to hit the free agent market in 2015. The Cuban slugger left the Wasserman Media Group, and joined the Jay-Z run Roc Nation Sports agency. Although they’ve only been around for a short time, Roc Nation represents some notable players like Robinson Cano and Rusney Castillo. Of course, Cespedes changing agents doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t sign an extension with Boston, but his current attitude toward the free agent market remains unchanged. (What does Yoenis Cespedes’ agency change mean for prospects of an extension)
- While the 2014 Red Sox’ offensive struggles can’t be pinpointed on just one facet of the game, the lack of speed on the roster certainly contributed to the team’s overall failure. Obviously the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury was a huge blow to Boston’s running game, but that loss only became magnified when Shane Victorino hit the disabled list early last season. Looking forward, the Sox will rely on the legs of Mookie Betts and Ruseny Castillo — along with a healthy Victorino — to revitalize Boston’s speed on the base paths next season. (Need for Speed: Red Sox looking to infuse lineup with speed once again)
- In a market that was said to be barren of offense, the Red Sox managed to find a middle of the order hitter by trading for Yoenis Cespedes at the July 31st traded deadline. But as the team enters the offseason, if the 29-year old more valuable as a future piece of a trade chip? There are pros and cons to each side of the argument. Boston needs a top tier starter, while other clubs will certainly be in the market for offense. Still, the Red Sox need to ensure that Cespedes’ departure wouldn’t leave an uncoverable hole in their line-up. (Pros and cons for the Red Sox to trade Yoenis Cespedes before the 2015 season)
- It’s almost impossible to match or better David Ortiz’ playoff reputation, but if you ask Jake Peavy, Pablo Sandoval is almost there. Riding a 23-game playoff on-base streak, the heavy-set third baseman has continued to scald the ball in October, reaching base at a .396 clip. While Ortiz and Sandoval’s plate approach greatly differs, each player has a knack for the big moment. (Peavy: Sandoval near Big Papi in the clutch)
- Tweet of the day: Papi’s MVP ring dwarfs Erin Andrews’ hand