October 23rd, 2014
After a very bleak Game 1 for Royals fans, hope returned to Kansas City in the form of their huge Game 2 victory tonight against the Giants. Momentum seems to have shifted a bit as we head to San Francisco on tomorrow’s travel day. Game 3 should be pivotal. But ultimately, the Royals will once again have to face Madison Bumgarner, the ace that caused them heartburn last night. They had to make some headway while they could. That’s exactly what they did tonight against the Giants Jake Peavy and his bullpen buddies.
Loud offense provided by Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler, and Omar Infante set the stage for the much needed victory. A solid pitching performance by Yordano Ventura proved just good enough to get to the bullpen in time. All in all, it was the Giants who looked like a flat, warm bottle of soda pop that had lost its fizz. Offensively, they laid an egg. As opposed to last night, the yoke was on the Giants.
So we’re all even at one game each. Now it’s down to the best of five. The next three games will be played in the National League park-meaning there will be no designated hitter named Billy Butler in the Royals lineup. Meaning the pitchers will have to hit. Meaning Advantage San Francisco. For the next few games, at least.
In every World Series it seems dignitaries in the two competing cities place bets with each other. This one is among the most creative I’ve ever heard—If the Royals win, top officials of the San Francisco Zoo will stand in front of the lion exhibit with signs that say “The Royals won and we’re swallowing our pride.” If the Giants win, the director of the Kansas City Zoo will stand in front of the sea lion pool with signs that say, “We’re not lion- The Giants beat us fair and square.” Oh well, who thinks of these things?
I wonder if anyone has doubts about James Shields future after his clunker last night? With starting pitching at a premium, I don’t think his flat tire in Game 1 will ruin his chance to purchase an entire fleet of luxury automobiles if he so desires. Such is the market for a pitcher with the moniker Big Game James. But when we think about it, Shields has needed air in those tires for about two months now. He’ should get another chance to rev up the ol’ engine at least one more time.
The Press Box food tonight included the great ball park favorites of hot dogs, hamburgers and all the trimmings. Even though it was the same as yesterday, I certainly didn’t hear any complaints. It was all very good. Tonight though, the hosts added some very good, very freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. They went very quickly.
The Royals were able to return to at least part of their winning formula tonight. They were able to use their tried and trusted back end of their bullpen. Herrera, Davis and Holland all came through. If they were an accounting firm, you would think they were cooking the books. They aren’t accountants or math geeks, just very solid pitchers at the top of their game. Bam-they have the ability to slam the door shut. In Game 1 they were merely spectators. In Game 2, they were allowed to ply their craft.
Fact: Ten of the last eleven teams that have won Game 1 have won the World Series. Can that really be true? That seems like an awfully large number.
If the preliminary pitching match ups remain as originally stated by managers Ned Yost and Bruce Bochy, the Royals will be facing Tim Hudson in Game 3. Jeremy Guthrie would pitch for Kansas City. Game 4 would see the Royals Jason Vargas against the Giants Ryan Vogelsong. Who knows? That could change. But that’s what it looks like right now.
I thought the Royals Yordano Ventura looked very calm on the mound tonight. When he faltered at all, it was when he tried to increase his velocity beyond 97 mph. He would elevate those faster pitches, losing command of the strike zone. His counterpart, Jake Peavy was rocky at the start but recovered nicely and settled down.
I will greet you on twitter @BerniePleskoff from San Francisco on Friday evening. I hope you’ll be ready for more great World Series baseball. I still think this Series will go six games and we’ll be coming back to Kansas City.
Thanks for following me and for reading my World Series scouting profiles on MLB.com.