The 2014 MLB Postseason has been great for Madison Bumgarner, and that didn’t change in game 1 of the World Series as an excellent performance from the starting pitcher was the linchpin in a 7-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on the road of the Kansas City Royals, taking a 1-0 lead.
Bumgarner allowed just three hits and one run during seven innings of excellent throwing, striking out five batters. Things were quite the opposite for James Shields who lasted only three innings, giving up three runs in the first and allowing 7 hits and five runs overall during his short start. Taking him out didn’t stop the bleeding, as Danny Duffy allowed two more runs in the seventh inning. The Royals got on the scoreboard after they were already down by seven runs.
Shields threw 70 pitches, generating only four swing and misses overall. He also allowed 7 hard-hit balls in 15 at-bats, a.467 average which is the worst in any start over the last four years for him. Only three other starters this season have done worse when it comes to facing so few batters and still allowing so many big hits. His control and aim were off right from the start, beginning with a Pablo Sandoval RBI single after two walks and then a two-run homer from Hunter Pence to get the ball rolling.
The Giants weren’t the kind of offensive team we’ve seen from them most of this postseason. They were about big hits instead of putting pressure on pitchers. They hit 10-of-36 with four extra base hits. Joe Panik hit his second triple of the postseason, something a rookie hasn’t done since 1982. Sandoval, like Pence, finished with two RBIs, adding another single that scored someone in the 7th innings. Pence also walked twice, and overall was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in the game.
The Royals were taken out of the offensive factor, hitting just 4-of-30. Norichika Aoki, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon managed to reach base only once between all of them, and that was a walk by Cain. They did get a two-out RBI with the Perez home run, but it came too late, as Javier Lopez and Hunter Strickland came on for Bumgarner and did a very good job of simply finishing the game, allowing just one hit between them.
When streaks collide, someone has to leave disappointed. The Royals won 11 consecutive postseason games dating back to their 1985 World Series victory but it ended in a big thud. The Giants, champions in 2012, have now won 16 of their last 18 playoff games. The winner of game 1 also went on to win it all in the last four World Series, and in 10 of the last 11. The only exception are the Phillies in 2009, winning game 1 against the Yankees but losing in the end.
Up next for the teams are Jake Peavy and Yordano Ventura. Peavy has lost 12 straight decisions at some point during this season. He has a win in the series with the Nationals but had a bad four innings performance against the Cardinals in the NLCS. Ventura had a good series against the Angels but wasn’t so impressive facing the Orioles. No player on the Giants lineup has ever faced the rookie who can throw 100 mph.