Sunday, October 19, 2014

Joey's Soapbox: My 2014 Not-So-Biased World Series Pick

Hello, everyone.  This is your favorite Studious Metsimus prognosticator, Joey Beartran.  Today, I'm sad to report that it's that time of year again.  The end of the baseball season is upon us, and it'll be the 28th consecutive year that doesn't end with the Mets raising the World Series trophy and Keith Hernandez recovering from a hangover.

But just because the Mets aren't playing for all the marbles doesn't mean I can't suggest which team you should wager your marbles on.

The 2014 World Series features a playoff-experienced San Francisco Giants team and the new kids on the playoff block, the Kansas City Royals, a team that has shown the right stuff in becoming the first team to win eight straight games to start a postseason.  It's the second time that both World Series participants are wild card teams (the Angels and Giants played in the first all-wild card Fall Classic in 2002) and the first time any wild card team has advanced to the World Series since the two-wild card format was instituted in 2012.

It's the culmination of everything the Giants and Royals have played for since the start of the season.  It's the 2014 World Series.  And it's time I stop rambling and give you my expert pick to help you make an educated wager on the winner.  Just remember to compensate me properly when my pick wins you lots of dough.  (And for the record, I prefer my dough in the form of pizza.)

You take my World Series pick and I'll take sausage and extra cheese on my pizza.

World Series

San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals

This is the third time the Giants have played in the World Series since the Mets moved to Citi Field.  The last time the Royals played in the Fall Classic, the Mets had just one championship to their credit.  Needless to say, this is a matchup between two completely different teams when it comes to playoff experience.  But they're quite similar in just about everything else.

Neither team was known for the home run ball, as both the Giants and Royals had just two players with more than 16 homers.

Both teams had great starting pitchers and even better bullpens, as the Giants and Royals' bullpen ERA was nearly half a run lower than what their starters produced.

San Francisco and Kansas City also hit better with runners in scoring position (.267 for SF, .271 for KC) than they did overall (.255 for SF, .263 for KC).

Both teams advanced to the World Series by winning a plethora of close games.  The Giants won all three of their games against the Nationals in the division series by one run, then defeated the Cardinals by three runs or less in each of their four NLCS wins against them.  Meanwhile, seven of the Royals' eight postseason victories were either one-run wins or games in which Kansas City scored the winning run in its final at-bat.

Finally, both San Francisco and Kansas City have played excellent defense during their respective postseason runs, as the Giants have made three errors in ten games and the Royals have committed three miscues in eight contests.

But there is one HUGE difference between the two teams.  And it's in their legs.  San Francisco stole 56 bases during the regular season, good for last place in the National League.  No Giants player swiped more than 16 bags, and one of them was team co-leader Angel Pagan, who is inactive for the postseason.  Meanwhile, Kansas City's 153 steals led the American League.  Speedsters Jarrod Dyson (36 SB), Alcides Escobar (31 SB), Lorenzo Cain (28 SB) and Nori Aoki (17 SB) all would have led the Giants with their stolen base totals.

The Giants allowed 107 stolen bases during the regular season, a number that was surpassed by just four National League teams.  All four of those teams (San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami) finished the season with losing records.  Giants catchers threw out a mere 32 would-be base stealers and had plenty of trouble with Royals' runners during their interleague matchup with Kansas City in August, throwing out just one base stealer in nine attempts.  In fact, in the final game of the three-game series sweep by the Royals, the Giants allowed seven stolen bases with nary a caught stealing to their credit.  It was just the seventh time in the last century that the Giants allowed as many as seven steals in one game and the fifth time it happened without any base stealers being caught.

Rk Date Team Opp Result SB CS
1 2014-08-10 KCR SFG W 7-4 7 0
2 2009-05-14 NYM SFG W 7-4 7 0
3 1999-04-13 HOU SFG W 7-3 7 1
4 1988-04-18 CIN SFG L 3-6 7 0
5 1983-07-27 STL SFG W 7-6 9 0
6 1946-09-08 BRO NYG W 11-3 8 1
7 1919-07-07 (1) PHI NYG L 5-10 7 0
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/19/2014.

Jarrod Dyson is one of many Royals who should make the Giants nervous.  (Denny Medley/USA Today Sports)

It goes without saying that Buster Posey and all Giants pitchers will have to keep an eye on Kansas City's speedsters once they reach base.  And if too many of them reach base, it'll be sayonara for San Francisco.

The Giants can win their third championship if they continue their timely hitting and keep the Royals off first base.  It's hard enough to continue to come up with clutch hits.  It's almost impossible to keep the Royals from running wild on the bases.  San Francisco tried in August and was embarrassed in a three-game sweep.  This won't be a sweep by the Royals, but it also won't be a third title in five years for the Giants either.

Prediction:  Royals in 6.


Anonymous said...

I can agree. Here's to a good series! Phil Groh

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

I hope it is a good series with lots of close games. Blowouts are never interesting.