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Meet The Team Standing Between The Royals And A World Series Title

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The A’s: beaten. The Angels: swept. The Orioles: taken care of.

The Royals have sliced through the competition in this year’s playoffs, leaving them American League champions and one of just two teams left standing.

The San Francisco Giants dispatched the Pirates, Nationals and Cardinals to win the National League pennant and reach the World Series. Now, the first team to win four games will be crowned World Champion.

Meet the team standing between the Royals and the team’s second World Series title:

Team: San Francisco Giants

Home ballpark: AT&T Park

Manager: Bruce Bochy. 20 years, 1640-1618, .502 career winning percentage.

2014 regular season record: 88-74, 2nd place National League West. Wild Card winner.

Names to know:

  • Buster Posey (C) – Hit .311 with an .854 OPS and 22 homeruns and is one of baseball’s brightest stars
  • Hunter Pence (RF) – Hit .277 with 20 homeruns and 13 stolen bases. Has a great beard and a fantastic sense of humor.
  • Madison Bumgarner (SP) – Notched an 18-10 record with a 2.98 ERA and 9 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.

Recent history: World Series titles in 2012 and 2010.

Head-to-head: The Royals swept the Giants in a three-game interleague series at Kauffman Stadium in August, out-scoring the Giants 16-6.

Giants’ keys to success:

  • Get on the board early – The Royals bullpen is one of the best of all time. If San Francisco heads to the seventh inning staring at a deficit and a matchup with the Royals’ three-headed monster of relief pitchers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, they won’t feel good about their chances.

  • Check the Royals’ speedsters – The Royals don’t usually hit for power, relying instead on speed to get them around the bases. Giants catcher Buster Posey is about league-average in preventing stolen bases, having caught 25 of 84 attempted thefts (30%). The Royals’ Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar and Terrance Gore will present a challenge for the Giants’ All-Star backstop.

  • Crush the ball – Despite playing half of their games in one of the toughest parks for hitters, the Giants managed to score the fifth-most runs in the National League. With mostly average starting pitching, they’ll likely need more than a few long balls.

World Series outlook: With a more productive offensive lineup, solid defense and average pitching, the Giants would have a slight edge over a 162-game season. But the Giants and Royals matchup is relatively even and anything can happen in a short seven-game series. 

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