Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Game 7 Tonight

Royals send Jeremy Guthrie vs. Tim Hudson for the Giants in tonight's pitching match-up. It's a rematch of the Game 3 match-up, which saw the Royals prevail 3-2. I know that score makes it sound like a pitchers' duel, but Game 3 was the game where I saw the most good defensive plays in my life. There were like 20 Web-gem quality plays turned, the majority of them by the Royals. To his credit, Guthrie didn't walk anyone, he made the Giants hit the ball, and they hit him hard, but the Royals fielders kept making plays. Can they duplicate this feat in Game 7? I don't know, but they are regarded as a great fielding team.

I don't recall Hudson pitching very well in Game 3, but his stats don't look horrible. He did give up three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, but only four hits. Of course, that was enough, as the Royals legendary shutdown bullpen took over from there.

Couple variables in place today
  • Top three in Royals bullpen are well rested, so I wouldn't expect Guthrie to have to go more than five, which could be a very good thing. That said, Giants touched up Herrera and Davis in Game 5, and hit Finnegan hard in Game 4, so maybe some of the air of invincibility is gone out from the Royals bullpen - but, it's worth noting that the Royals were behind when Herrera and Davis entered in Game 5, a situation those pitchers are not used to being in, so maybe it affected their mentality. I fully expect them to be tougher if the Royals have the lead in Game 7 (and for Finnegan to be left on the bench - except for maybe to get a lefty batter) when they enter, but the Giants also now know they can be hit and scored on.
  • On the Giants side, the availability of Madison Bumgarner out of the pen would seem to change the dynamics a bit. With him there, when is too early to go to the pen? Do you let Hudson work twice through the order and then pull him - as that is when he got into trouble in Game 3? Of course, you want to stop a full-fledged disaster like the Giants ran into last night in the second inning, when Peavy clearly didn't have it. Royals are a good hitting team up and down the line-up and can put a hurtin' on a bad pitcher. If last night was Game 7, would Bochey have gone to Bumgarner in the second inning? Giants bullpen is also hurt a bit by Petit's looking mortal last night. KC solved him and now his mystique is gone. Such is the drama of a short series.
My prediction is that the Royals will win because of more better hitters and having a better bullpen.

Good luck to both teams.

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