Meeting for the first time in the postseason, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants begin the 2014 World Series with Game 1 Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
On their first and deepest run since 1985’s championship season, the wild card Royals are undefeated in the postseason following their sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series. They eliminated Oakland in the one-game wild card playoff, then took two on the road from the Los Angeles Angels before completely shutting down the Orioles potent lineup.
The Giants, also a wild card team, finished off the St. Louis Cardinals in five games following Travis Ishikawa’s three-run walk-off home run Thursday night at home. Behind four masterful starts from lefty Madison Bumgarner and a bullpen that’s given up only seven runs throughout the postseason, San Francisco could be the first team to win three titles in a five-year span in the last 15 years.
Sporting the postseason’s two best bullpens, and some considerable talent in the starting rotations, the series could be a pitchers duel throughout.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy will once again turn to Bumgarner in Game 1, hoping the lefty can silence a Royals offense that’s continued to terrorize opposing pitchers with 42 runs scored and 13 stolen bases throughout the postseason.
Tabbed as the NLCS MVP, Bumgarner’s inarguably been the best starter this postseason, allowing five earned runs over four starts for a 1.42 ERA with 28 strikeouts and a 2-1 record. The 25-year-old’s never been pulled earlier than the seventh inning this postseason, which has allowed Bochy to sparingly use relievers Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo. Casilla’s earned four saves in seven appearances, and given up two hits and no earned runs.
Kansas City will send their ace James Shields to the mound. The 32-year-old has been tagged for 10 earned runs in three starts during the postseason, earning only one decision, but the Royals offense has come through each time with Shields on the mound and won all three.
Shields has just as much protection coming out of the K.C. bullpen as Bumgarner. Closer Greg Holland’s racked up six saves in eight games, striking out 10 batters and allowing one run, while Wade Davis has garnered two victories and two holds in relief appearances. Davis and Kelvin Herrera have also struck out 10 batters apiece.
The seven-game series will follow the 2-3-2 format, with the Royals hosting the first two games and, if necessary, Games 6 and 7. San Francisco will host Games 3, 4 and 5.
For Game 1 in Kansas City, tickets have skyrocketed in price on the secondary market. According to Stubhub.com, the cheapest seat available goes for $749 in the upperdeck along the first base line. For a spot near the road team dugout by the third base line, one seller’s asking for $10,453. And there are nearly 3,000 seats available for purchase.
When the series turns to San Francisco for Game 3, some sellers are asking for more than $100,000 for seats in the reserve outfield sections along the third base line. But a little deeper in left field seats are available for $542.
TV Schedule (All games will be broadcast by FOX starting at 8:07 p.m. EST)
Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 21
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 22
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 24
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 25
Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 26.
Game 6*: Tuesday, Oct. 28
Game 7*: Wednesday, Oct. 29