Through two games, the 2014 World Series is still up for grabs. The Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants are tied at 1-1, as the series shifts to the West Coast for the weekend.
The Fall Classic was considered a near-tossup before the opener, and the two teams haven’t done much to change the odds. Madison Bumgarner continued to be the best pitcher in the playoffs, leading the Giants to a 7-1 victory in Game 1. The Royals came back with a win the following night, scoring seven runs of their own.
A pair of veterans will take the mound in Game 3. Tim Hudson will go for the Giants, having allowed five total runs in two postseason starts. Jeremy Guthrie makes just his second playoff start of the year, having allowed one run in five innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Oct. 14.
Even in his 16th MLB season, Hudson is about as consistent as any pitcher in baseball. He posted a 3.57 ERA in the regular season, marking seven out of eight seasons in which his ERA has been higher than 3.00, but lower than 4.00. His career postseason ERA of 3.42 is almost identical to his career ERA outside of October.
Guthrie hasn’t been a safe bet like Hudson. He hasn’t posted a regular-season ERA under 4.04 since 2010, including his 4.13 ERA in 2014. However, he’s been unhittable since mid-September, allowing 15 hits in 24.1 innings with a 0.73 ERA.
Jason Vargas and Ryan Vogelsong will face off in what could be the most important game of the series, as one of the teams will be looking to avoid a 3-1 deficit. Vargas has been the better pitcher this year, allowing three runs in 11.1 postseason innings. Vogelsong gave up four runs in three innings in his last outing, but San Francisco got the victory anyway.
If the Royals want to ensure that the series returns to Kansas City, they’ll almost certainly have to win one of the first two games in San Francisco. James Shields and Madison Bumgarner will face off for a second time in Game 5, and there’s little reason to believe it won’t turn into a repeat of Game 1.
Kansas City’s No.1 starter continues to pitch poorly in the playoffs, throwing just one quality start in four games this postseason. Bumgarner has been the complete opposite, pitching five quality starts and never going fewer than seven innings.
Pablo Sandoval continues to be San Francisco’s best hitter in the playoffs. After batting .400 in the NLCS, the third baseman has gone four-of-nine in the World Series, scoring one of the team’s two runs in their loss.
For the Royals, Lorenzo Cain is, once again, leading the offense. He hit a team-best .533 against the Orioles and has been on base four times in the first two games against the Giants.
Taking a 2-1 series advantage doesn’t necessarily mean the team will go on to win the title. Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals won Game 3 after the series had been tied, but they ended up losing the next three games.
The series resumes on Friday night in San Francisco. Below is the schedule for the remainder of the 2014 World Series.
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 24 at San Francisco, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 25 at San Francisco, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX
Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 26 at San Francisco, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX
Game 6: Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Kansas City, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX*
Game 7: Wednesday, Oct. 29 at Kansas City, 8:07 p.m. ET, FOX*