The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals are set to begin a 3-game series this afternoon. The two teams are both fighting for a playoff spot in their respective league, and both teams sit in the #2 hole in their division. The SF Giants are trailing the Los Angels Dodgers by 3.5 games, and the Royals trailing the Detroit Tigers by 2.5 games. The Royals are 60-53, while the Giants are 62-53. Both teams have better road records than home records and both teams are barely hanging on to the 2nd wild card spot at the moment.
The Royals are coming off a 4-game winning streak, while the Giants just dropped the series to the Brewers. Both teams will need momentum heading into the playoff stretch as the Giants look for their 3rd World Series Championship in 5 years, while the Royals are looking for their first playoff bid in nearly 30 years (1985).
We asked Mike Vamosi from Kings of Kauffman some questions about the Royals as the Giants head into Kansas City for the first time since 2008.
Around the Foghorn – The Royals are just 2.5 games back of Detroit, and as of now, would be the #2 Wild Card. What does this team need to do differently to secure a playoff bid and correct me if I’m wrong, but will this be the first time in the playoffs since 1985 when the Royals won the World Series? How big of deal would that be to fans?
Kings of Kauffman – The pitching and defense have been strong for Kansas City all season long, hopefully the team can bottle up the offense they got in Arizona. That’s been the most inconsistent part for the Royals this season with Eric Hosmer (who’s on the DL), Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas not producing on a consistent bases and at the same time. This is a line-up that if they get rolling in August and September it should put them in position to be leading or make the playoffs. I don’t even know how to explain what making the playoffs would mean to outside fan KC has the longest drought in “the big four” (MLB/NBA/NHL/NFL) next longest is Toronto at 20 years then Seattle 12 so year 28 years plus we’re all itching for October.
ATF – Which hitter should Giants pitchers not underestimate?
KOK – Salvador Perez is one that comes to mind off the top of my head with the season he’s had. The 2-time All-Star has added offense to being arguable the best defensive catch in the game. Alex Gordon is another, in addition to winning three straight Gold Gloves he’s someone who quietly swings a good bat and can hurt opponents. Lastly, Lorenzo Cain should get a mention as he’s got sneaky power.
ATF – Vargas, Shields, and Duffy are scheduled to pitch, what can you tell us about them?
KOK – Jason Vargas made his first start since returning from having his appendix removed before the All-Star break and carried a no-hitter in Oakland before the defense ans A’s bat chased him out. Vargas has been a pleasant surprise for the team this season and is a crafty lefty who takes advantage of pitching at the K. “Big Game” James, last time out threw a gem at O.co against baseball’s best and hopefully is on the path of getting over his two month slump given how important the games are from here on out. Danny Duffy is probably more familiar to Giants fans given that he’s a California kid but another thing San Francisco fans can relate to is his lack of run support he receives each start. Last time out against the Diamondbacks he got the runs but do to throwing several pitches early on went six inning which has been an issue despite his strikeout rate.
ATF – Series prediction?
KOK – I’ll be at all three games this weekend and while I’d love to say that the Royals can sweep the Giants I’m a realist. Bumgarner, Hudson and Lincecum are a potent three starters to face plus with SF getting Angel Pagan/Brandon Belt makes things tougher for the boys in blue. I do think that with how the team has played (even though KC is .500 at home this season) they can get two of three games this weekend before the A’s come to town.