So, here we are. What began in March in Australia now ends here. The 2014 Major League Baseball season comes to a close when the Kansas City Royals face off against the San Fran Frisco Giants. We are here to break down every angle for you, to see who will come away with the hardware. We'll go through many factors and see which team has the advantage in each one and then decide who will win the whole enchilada (Along with a side of beans and a medium fountain drink.)
But first: Since this is a Diamondbacks website and we are talking about the World Series, take a few hours and watch this again:
Ahh, memories. Anytime a smug Yankees fan (kinda redundant) starts bellowing about "27 RINGZ!!!1111" You, as a Diamondbacks fan, can calmly retort "Yeah, but it's not 28." However, let's live in the present and see what this year's Fall Classic will bring.
When the Giants lost Matt Cain for the year, who was having a down year as it was (good job signing him to that long extension!), one could have been forgiven for tossing aside any hopes the Giants had at a big run. However, they've been able to keep it together with Madison Bumgarner taking the lead, and "All Early-2000s Team" members Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Tim Hudson in tow during the playoffs. '
The Royals have James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas, and Yordano Ventura as the probable four-man rotation in some order (with Danny Duffy on the sidelines in case something goes screwy.) While a short series can create some weird Small Sample Size results, the Giants have to be holding their breath for any game not started by Bumgarner, and while "Big Game" James has not lived up to his moniker, like, ever, he's still capable of putting in a solid start, and the other three guys aren't shabby.
The Royals got to this point partially due to some well-timed offensive surges by guys like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas hitting home runs at opportune times (All times are opportune times for Home Runs, some just more than others.) Alex Gordon will likely finish with MVP Votes, and Lorenzo Cain had a good LCS. The Royals have the potential to keep it going through the World Series. However, small sample size being what it is, there's the also very good potential of some of these guys experiencing some short-term regression.
The Giants have rotated through a lot of their position players during their current even-year bulls*** phase, but I think I trust the base level of their hitters (Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, etc.) more than I would trust the Royals. I hope I'm wrong.
Both teams have very effective bullpens that didn't require lighting piles of money on fire, not that I'm piling on to any deceased pool-hopping mountebanks here. I give the more-than-slight edge to KC here, because Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland make up as potent a late-inning combo as there is in Baseball (They should really call the Shields-Myers trade the Davis trade amirite?)
Also the Giants are still using Hunter Strickland, who has given up a few homers in previous playoff rounds that still have yet to land.
Lorenzo Cain just caught any justification for the Giants, who start a First Baseman in left field (who would ever do that?), running and diving.
This should be obvious advantage Giants.
Whatever the hell Ned Yost is doing seems to be working, whether by blind-dumbass luck or a pact with one of the more evil Gods in the Dungeons and Dragon pantheon. I swear, he's gonna call a sac-bunt with two outs at some point in this series and it'll turn into a triple somehow.
There's a good chance that a lot of Yost's tactical deficiencies are mitigated by how he manages the clubhouse, the various personalities, etc. That's the part of managing that we don't really see, but I imagine is the hardest part of it. I could be wrong.
Bruce Bochy has a very large head.
THE FRENCHY CONNECTION
In the year 2013, Snakepit Favorite Jeff Francoeur played for both of these teams. In fact, he went straight from the Royals to the Giants, fulfilling his part of the prophecy that culminated in this World Series matchup. What I'm saying is this: Frenchy is the sole reason that either of these teams had success this year and they should be offering up tithing and sacrifices to him. Oyez oyez.
But of course, it's not enough for Frenchy's influence to guide both of these teams from his presence in the previous year. We have to see which one will be willed to victory.
JEFF FRANCOEUR 2013
LINE WITH THE ROYALS: .208/.249/.322
LINE WITH THE GIANTS: .194/.206/.226
I think it's obvious who he favors, and that could mean everything in this series.
FORMER DIAMONDBACKS WHO PLAYED FOR EACH TEAM AT SOME POINT IN 2014
The Giants have the following: Yusmeiro Petit, Javier Lopez, Tony Abreu, and Juan Gutierrez
The Royals have nobody. Since we all know former Diamondbacks will reach new heights with their new teams (it's science), this is an oversight by Dayton Moore. He can only hope it doesn't come back to bite him and the Royals hard.
BAD MOVIES SHOT/SET THERE
San Francisco (and by proxy, the bay area) is the setting for two doozies The Room and Birdemic: Shock and Terror. The only notable thing I found about Kansas City in that regard, and the only thing noted in the "Film in Kansas City" wikipedia article, was that part of the Nuclear Paranoia TV Film The Day After was set and film there. Now, that featured John Lithgow, who can ham it up, but it couldn't possibly compare to this:
WHICH TEAM IS A GOOD UNDERDOG STORY?
I don't even have to explain this one, do I? I trust that you came into reading this article with enough context to know the history of these two teams. Right? Right????
WHICH TEAM IS NOT A DIVISIONAL RIVAL OF THE DIAMONDBACKS?
Also known as: "Which team just by basis of familiarity should you under no circumstances root for."
Now, there are people out there (and I'm not making up a strawman, they do exist, I've seen them) that will tell you that you HAVE to root for the Giants because "NL West Pride", like that's an actual thing. I hate this mentality so much, and its genesis comes from College Football. However, unlike that sport, there is no monetary or ranking incentive for a conference/division rival to do well (And even in that case, I'm of the belief that every other Pac-12 team except Arizona can die in all sorts of fires), so there's no point. Why should you wish for the happiness of a team and group of fans that you just spent six months despising? Boo Giants, boo.
I'm not going to use these ten factors to make a formal prediction, because both of my LCS predictions were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off, but it's something to consider. Just remember to watch starting tomorrow night, because these are the four to seven final Major League games you will see this year. Then we're in the dark times of the same arguments being hashed out in the comments about a Free Agent signing. So really cherish these games.