It is that time of year again; the World Series is under way.
The hopes of players and fans of 28 teams have been dashed and only two teams are still left standing: the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants.
The Royals have made an incredible playoff run after not being in the playoffs since 1985.
The Royals went 8-0 after winning the wild card play-in game against the Oakland Athletics and then sweeping both the ALDS against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the ALCS versus the Baltimore Orioles on their way to the World Series.
They are the Cinderella story of this Major League Baseball postseason.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants also won the wild card play-in game and they beat the Washington Nationals in the NLCS followed by beiating the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS.
The question is who will be the World Series champion?
I am torn, as personally I am rooting for the small market team.
Therefore, I want to see the Royals win the World Series, but I believe the Giants will win for the World Series for the third time in five years.
The first reason is because of their ace starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who has a sinsational 1.42 ERA in five starts so far this postseason.
Bumgarner also has a complete game shutout thus far.
Even though he is only 25 years old, Bumgarner has become a proven playoff arm with a fantastic postseason career ERA of 2.54 in 11 starts.
Another key for the Giants is former MVP catcher Buster Posey.
Posey is batting .292 this postseason and is known as one of the best defensive catchers throughout baseball.
The Kung Fu Panda himself, two-time all-star third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, who is hitting .333 with 16 hits in 48 at-bats in the playoffs, has to be a strong force in the middle of the lineup for the Giants.
The three-time all star right fielder Hunter Pence has also played great generating offense for the Giants batting .286 with five extra base hits, four doubles, one home run.
Another pitcher who has made an impact for the Giants this postseason is Jake Peavy.
Peavy, a three-time all-star and former Cy Young award winner, is in his 13th season in the MLB and is having a tremendous playoff thus far posting just a 1.86 ERA.
Peavy was acquired by the Giants from the Boston Red Sox a few days before the MLB trade deadline and has completely revived his career by being sensational ever since.
The last player who can be a key for the Giants is first baseman Brandon Belt who has a .282 batting average this postseason.
San Francisco also has experience on its side, winning the World Series in both 2010 and 2012.
They have been here before and know what it takes to win it.
Even though the Kansas City Royals’ story is fantastic, I think the lack of experience the team has will lead to their eventual downfall as the San Francisco Giants will defeat them in a six-game series and become once again the World Series champions for the third time in five years.
Jason C. Croft:
In a Faceoff article from March 27, 2014 for The Clarion Call, I chose the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series.
The only reason, I am sticking with them, is because I am proud of the pick, regardless if they win or lose this years World Series.
People probably thought I was crazy picking Kansas City.
How can you pick a team who hasn’t been the postseason in almost 30 years?
Look at those Royals now.
In the article, my opponent Alex Henry had a valiant pick, choosing an obvious pick in the St. Louis Cardinals, who fell short in the NLCS to the NL Pennant winning Giants.
A rivalry I feel has developed between Alex and me and though he can brag about his Pittsburgh Penguins being better than my Flyers, he cannot have this one.
Choosing a sleeper pick back in March, I personally feel like a champion.
I have won the Faceoff from back in March whether the Royals win the Fall Classic, or get swept out of the World Series like the Rockies did back in 2007.
In the article from March, I stated, “The way I see the Royals winning the 2014 World Series is through ‘small ball’ baseball and gritty baseball.”
For the Royals, that couldn’t have been more true.
The Kansas City Royals throughout the season finished dead last in homeruns.
Only 95 were belted over the outfield wall by Kansas City.
The Royals, however, led the Major Leagues with the most stolen bases 153.
They also had the least amount of strikeouts by a team.
The Royals had only 985 strikeouts while the next closest team was the Oakland Athletics who had 1104.
The Royals were tied for eight in the league with 47 sacrifice flies.
The Royals put the ball in play, and when the ball is in play, anything can happen.
Kansas City’s pitching staff this year trusted its fielders to make the plays.
They finished 25th in strikeouts, however the team still struggled having 104 fielding errors on the season.
The Royals managed 14 shutouts this season, finishing in the top 10.
They also had the second best save percentage behind only the Padres.
This postseason, the Royals have been fighters, not losing a single game, though, being behind in crucial moments in the Wild Card game, being only outs away from elimination.
Kansas City managed to go 8-0 through the first three rounds of the playoffs to clinch the American League Pennant for the first time since 1985, defeating the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Baltimore Orioles.
Though the Royals have lost game one already, (game two was played, however, not in time for print), I still will take the Royals now at -115 favorites, just as I took them at 33/1 odds back in March.
After winning the MLS cup back in December on PKs, another celebration in Kansas City, Missouri, is upon us, and this time it comes in the form of a World Series.