MLB World Series – Game 1
San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals
Spread: SFG -1.5
M/L: SFG -106; KC -104
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The Kansas City Royals rolled 8-0 through the AL Playoffs and had five days to prepare for this matchup before sending James Shields to the mound in a game the visiting San Francisco Giants are 1.5 points favorites in according to MLB oddsmakers at Bovada.
The Giants will counter Shields with staff ace Madison Bumgarner. The Giants still had four days off, and Buster Posey just said it was “different,” which essentially says nothing. The implication is that it affects hitters, of course. Omar Infante of KC was a bit more giving in saying “It affects a bit with your timing, especially when trying to adjust to pitchers.”
Shields hasn’t started since Oct. 10 in the ALCS opener vs. Baltimore. Shields said he’s just “rested his body up.” Even Bumgarner’s 249 innings pitched may not matter with so much time to recover. He started Thursday in the series clincher against the Cardinals, but he said he’s felt the best he had in two months and the southpaw consistently frustrates very good hitters like the Royals lineup.
The Royals ranked 4th in the league in batting average during the regular season (.263) and were 14th in runs scored (651). In the postseason, three batters have gone for .350 or better (Josh Willingham, Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain). Hosmer has accounted for 22 total bases and has 13 hits, two of which have been home runs. Cain has gone 9-of-34, with three doubles and two stolen bases. The Royals have the weapons to get some hits, but Bumgarner doesn’t often have bad innings and Kansas City gets weaker late in the order.
The Giants aren’t the hitting machine Kansas City are, but the Giants put up more runs (655) while also ranking 13th in slugging percentage (.388) during the regular season. Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey have had the most success this postseason, but neither is having the success of the Royals’ top hitters. Sandoval has gone 14-of-43 and Posey 13-of-43. Sandoval has 18 total bases, but has truck out seven times, which is tied for the third worst on the team.
The Giants will need more from Hunter Pence in this series, who has hit just .256 in the postseason after going .277 in the regular season with 20 home runs.