World Series Game 1: SF vs. KC — The Royals’ big “bummer”

I probably should have put my World Series in a previous blog, along with the recap of my Championship Series predictions (and its results). But before I dive into the game recap, here it is: I had the Orioles over the Royals in 5, the Giants over the Cardinals in 6. Results: Royals over Orioles in 4, Giants over Cardinals in 5. So I was .500 (not including the game count) once again. At least, I’m consistent for this postseason. And so for this World Series, I’m saying Giants over Royals in 6 games. Though I will say, it would be way cooler for the Giants if they win it in 5 because they’ll win in San Francisco, and it’s always better to win at home because the crowds are amazing.

(And I promise you I wrote that paragraph before the game started, so tonight’s outcome has nothing to do with why I chose to go that direction. No, it’s pure dumb luck, which is usually how I end up on the favored side of my predictions.)

Let’s be honest here: the Royals are clearly the favorite if you’re rooting for the underdogs, while the Giants are the favorite if you’re rooting for a continuation of whatever dynasty the Giants seem to be building this decade (their 3rd Series in 5 years). And each side has their opinions as to why their selected team will take the Series, the least of which being that their team is just “better”. But mostly, I think people are just picking the lesser of two evils if they’re not already Royals or Giants fans. So basically, it’s just like every other World Series.

Tonight, both teams put up their “ace” pitcher, but only one tonight really proved himself to be a true ace. An “ace” to me is one who can face any situation, any batter, any play with consistency and excellence and shut down the opposing team with the help of his defense at times, but one who is in control of the game from start to finish. That fell to the Giants’ starter tonight in every sense of the word (and my stated definition), one I’ve said in previous blog posts that is a personal favorite (non-Yankee) pitcher to watch because of his (Yankee-like) work ethic and tenacity on the field. Bumgarner certainly outpitched his opponent the Royals’ ace Shields. Bumgarner throwing a solid 106 pitches over 7 innings, giving up just 3 hits and a walk, and the one run the Royals collected tonight (a solo shot in the 7th inning).

Shields and the Royals, however, just struggled in front of their home town crowd. Despite the raucous cheers from oceans of fans donning every shade of blue (save Yankee-like navy), the Royals were limited to minimal offense and just didn’t display the impressive defense they’ve been showing off in every other postseason game this October. Instead, Shields’ whopping 70 pitches took him into the 4th inning, but technically could patch together much, exiting after 7 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, and just 1 strike out. It took him 32 pitches (almost half of his final total tonight) to get through the 1st inning alone, giving up an RBI double and a 2-run home run to put the Giants on top 3-0 quickly.

An RBI single in the 4th forced the Royals into their bullpen early in the game, though his reliever ended up loading the bases with a 2-out walk and then walked the next batter to walk in the Giants’ 5th run. This was before they finally settled down and found their rhythm again. It wasn’t until the 7th inning that the Giants found another opening for their offense against the Royals’ bullpen. A lead-off walk scored on a nice triple, before that runner scored on an RBI single. After the Royals’ single offensive attack in the bottom of the 7th, the score was 7-1 Giants. And there it sat.

Kauffman Stadium was rather quiet unless a “good play” was made by the Royals. At some point about halfway through the game, the fans turned from hoping for a win to cheering for any “good thing” they could, be it a strikeout or easy ground out or sacrifice bunt. Not a bad display of team spirit and loyalty, Kansas City. But I’m guessing the folks across the country at their locales intently watching the game were cheering in their Orange and Black, and very glad for such a solid win in their corner.

The Giants’ win tonight also snapped the Royals’ record-setting postseason at 8 postseason wins. And here’s another fun fact (at least fun for any Giants’ supporters): 10 of the last 11 Game 1 winners have gone on to win the Series that year, including the Giants in their last 2 Series (2010 and 2012).

WS Game 1: Giants over Royals 7-1, Giants lead Series 1-0

Okay, for “This Day in Yankee History”, we go all the way back to 1928 when Yankee legend Whitey Ford was born. The southpaw would grow up to don the pinstripes and become the Yankees’ all-time wins leader and owner of the most World Series wins (10) in history. He was one of the outstanding pitching staff during the Yankees second dynasty (the DiMaggio-Mantle-Berra era in the middle of the 20th century).  (For more, you can check out a post I did on the Hall of Fame pitcher earlier this year.)

Go Yankees!

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