Giants rout Royals, & vice versa
The San Francisco Giants started off the 2014 the World Series with a bang in Kansas City. In the first inning on Tuesday night, Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI double and Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer. They kept adding runs, and the score was 7-0 by the bottom of the seventh inning, at which point Salvador Perez hit a solo homer to give Kansas City their only run. With a 7-1 final score, the Giants broke the Royals' amazing eight-game postseason winning streak.
Unfortunately, I was in class that night, and didn't see the game until later. While watching on the DVR, I was struck that the Royals kept hitting the ball well, but just could not capitalize. In fact, they had runners on second and third with nobody out in the third inning, but failed to score a run. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner struck out the next two batters, gave up a walk, and then induced a ground ball to end the inning without damage.
On Wednesday night, the Giants jumped out with a leadoff home run by Gregor Blanco, but the Royals tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a clutch two-out RBI single by Billy Butler. That was crucial in halting the visiting team's momentum, and the Royals took the lead one inning later, on an RBI double by Alcides Escobar. The Giants tied it 2-2 in the fourth inning, but Billy Butler hit another RBI single in the sixth inning, then Salvador Perez hit a two-run double, and Omar Infante hit a two-run home run. That five-run rally charged up the Kansas City crowd, and the folks savored a 7-2 triumph to even the series at one game apiece.
In Game 3 in San Francisco tonight, Alcides Escobar swung at the first pitch thrown by veteran Tim Hudson, and knocked the ball into the left field corner for a double. He scored a run after the next two batters hit ground balls, and the Royals clung to a 1-0 lead for the next few innings. Both teams scored twice in the sixth inning, and in the middle of the eighth inning, it's now 3-2 in the Royals' favor.
[UPDATE: The Royals held on to win, 3-2, thanks once again to their solid bullpen. Closing pitcher Greg Holland got three quick outs in the ninth inning, thus getting the save. That gives the Royals a 2-1 lead in the World Series. As long as the Giants win a game this weekend, there will be a Game 6 in Kansas City!]
National League: no DHs
As the World Series moves to San Francisco, the two teams' lineups are changing. The Giants are putting Michael Morse on the bench as a pinch-hitter, and the Royals are doing likewise with Billy Butler. Both players have done superbly as designated hitters, but how will playing by National League rules affect them?
Zimmerman lauds Morse
Ryan Zimmerman, whose own postseason as a Washington National came to a premature end this year, expressed good wishes for his former team mate Michael Morse: "He is such a good guy. ... People in D.C. enjoyed him on the team. Hopefully, he can take advantage of his opportunity and do something, win something that all of us want a chance to do at one time in our careers." See MLB.com.
No room for LaRoche
Speaking of Zimmerman, he is widely expected to move over to first base on a regular basis next year, so there will be no room on the Nationals roster for Adam LaRoche. His current contract has a clause with a mutual option to renew for 2015, but that is very unlikely. It's like a game of musical chairs, and he's the odd man out. LaRoche seems to be taking it well, as this situation has been anticipated for several months, ever since Ryan Zimmerman was put on the disabled list with a thumb injury back in May. LaRoche is widely liked and admired by his team mates, for his slugging prowess and vacuum-cleaner-like glove at first base. Washington Post writer talks about LaRoche's outside interests and activities, such as hunting, building a high school baseball stadium in Fort Scott, Kansas, and distributing Bibles to Africa and Asia. He is a first-class athlete and a real gentleman. Whatever team he ends up on next year will be lucky to get him.
On a related note, LaRoche (first base) and Denard Span (center field) have been nominated for the National League Golden Glove award for their respective positions. The winners will be announced on November 4.
1989 S.F. earthquake
It's hard to think of a World Series in San Francisco without thinking of the famous 1989 earthquake. Thanks to Facebook friend Patrick McAtee for this YouTube video of the 1989 World Series Game 3 on ABC, with TV announcers Tim McCarver and Al Michaels, just as the earthquake struck. Where was I on 17 October 1989? Well, I tuned into the game a few minutes late, and was aggravated to see some other show on TV instead of the scheduled baseball game. Within a few minutes they went back to to Candlestick Park, at which point I found out what had happened.
World Series stadia
Just like last year (albeit two months late!), and several years before that, I present the home ballparks of the two World Series teams, for easy comparison. Just roll over the thumbnail images to switch between the respective full-size diagrams.
I heard one of the FOX announcers mention that Kauffman Stadium has the largest outfield in the American League, and that didn't sound right to me. For some reason, I was under the impression that Comerica Park was bigger in area, but after checking my figures on the Stadium statistics page, I realized he was right. The outfield in Kauffman Stadium is approximately 117,800 sq. ft., compared to 110,800 sq. ft. for AT&T Park, which is likewise above average.