Tag Archives: San Francisco

Ten Things To Watch For In The World Series

I thought I’d take a brief look at some things to watch for in the World Series.

1) The MadBum/Shields Death Matches

Madison Bumgarner and James Shields are the aces of their respective teams, so they’ll be squaring off multiple times in this series. Bumgarner is the NL’s overlooked ace, with other starters like Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Johnny Cueto, among others, dominating the NL spotlight. Bumgarner has been quietly steady though, and has shined in the postseason, leading SF to it’s third WS trip in five years.

Meanwhile, James Shields, who was acquired specifically to lead KC to the playoffs, has done that. His numbers aren’t as good as Bumgarner’s though, and seem to represent the stats of an above average starter than a true ace, but he has the ability to rise to the occasion, so it’s possible he’ll match Bumgarner blow for blow.

2) Yordano Ventura

Many would say that this 22 year old from the Dominican Republic is KC’s true ace, and there’s some merit to that argument. His regular season stats were only a tiny bit worse than Shields, and given that he’s only 22 and this was his first full season, there’s a chance he’s just getting started and in the ensuing years will emerge as a real ace for KC. If that does happen, it’ll be interesting to see if KC will be able to hang on to him once free agency rolls around. That’s a long time down the road though. For now, let’s enjoy his coming out on the national spotlight that is the World Series.

3) The Entire Kansas City Bullpen

There’s been plenty been written already about the trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, so I won’t go into much detail about them here. They’ll be worth watching though, partly to see if Yost sticks to his regimented routine and only uses them in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings respectively, or if he adapts and is more flexible with them. In addition to those guys, Yost has other effective releivers to use, notably Brandon Finnegan, Jason Frasor and Tim Collins. Finnegan is a rookie lefthander who was promoted at the end of the season who has shined in the post-season. He’s a Sinker/Slider/Changeup pitcher with solid velocity.Frasor is a veteran releiver acquired by KC from the Rangers in July who has done a good job for the Royals since his acquisition. He’s a Four Seam/Slider/Splitter pitcher who generates quite a few groundball outs. Collins hasn’t seen much action in the playoffs, but he’s a solid option. He uses a solid Four Seam/Curve/Changeup combo. These are just three options, there are others, including whichever starters get assigned to the bullpen for the series. Yost has plenty of options beyond the Cerberus.

4) That’s What Speed Do vs. Buster Posey

Buster Posey’s caught stealing percentage is one of the lowest of his career, at 30 percent. Given that KC is loaded with speedsters, it’ll be interesting to see if they test his arm. The Royals have three guys with 28 or more stolen bases in Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. In addition, Alex Gordon has 12 stolen bases and Nori Aoki has 17. Then of course there’s designated pinch runner rookie Terrance Gore, who’s on the team strictly for his speed. KC’s speed will make this series much more interesting if Yost takes advantage of it often.

Another thing that’ll factor into this is how quick SF’s pitchers are in delivering the ball. A quick delivery will slow the KC running game a bit, and I know MadBum has a reputation for having a quick delivery, so watch that as well, for him, and the other SF starting pitchers too.

5) Joe Panik

Until Panik arrived, second base was pretty much a black hole for the Giants, to the point where they even tried out Dan Uggla. Afer that predictable failure, the rookie Panik arrived and stabilized the position by hitting .305 and providing at least average defense at the position. This is consistent with his minor league stats, which also suggest a guy who’ll get on at a good clip. Panik’s minor league OBP was typically 60 points higher than his batting average, which is pretty solid.

6) Bruce Bochy‘s Flexibility vs. Ned Yost‘s Routine

This has been covered a bit, so all I’ll say is it’ll be interesting to see if Yost realizes he’s going to have to adapt if he wants a shiny ring on his finger. He did in the ALCS, we’ll see if that continues in the WS.

7) Little Ball

Neither team is known as an offensive powerhouse, so it’ll be their ability to manufacture runs that will likely win the series. Bunting, taking the extra base, stolen bases and other small ball tactics. KC has the advantage here in regard to speed, but Bochy is the better tactician.

8) KC’s Other Defenders

Much has been made of KC’s outfield, but the rest of the team is pretty good with the glove too.Catcher Salvador Perez and Third Baseman Mike Moustakas are also Gold Glove winners and the rest of the infield (1B Eric Hosmer, 2B Omar Infante and SS Alcides Escobar) are also good fielders as well.

9 Yusmeiro Petit

The Giants also have their share of good relievers, one of which has been Petit. A swingman who’s alternated between the rotation and the bullpen, he’s been a key figure in SF’s playoff run, earning two wins in nine innings without allowing a run. His ability to pitch long stretches of effective relief while SF tries to make a comeback or take a lead in a tie game might be a big factor in SF winning the series.

10) Salvador Perez

Perez is perhaps the best catcher in the American League, combining solid offensive skills with a good arm. He led the AL with a 42 percent caught stealing rate. Posey may be the better offensive catcher, but Perez is perhaps the better all around catcher.

So there’s a few things to keep an eye on in what will be a very interesting World Series.

Thanks for reading.

The Oakland A’s and the elephant in the room…

First off, an apology. I’m sorry for the delay in posts. I’m struggling to come up withe ideas that generate quality posts, rather than rants on the Cardinals. With that in mind…

Other than the Cardinals, I follow a few other teams actively, mainly the Oakland A’s and The Tampa Bay Rays.

Today we’ll talk a little about Oakland. Great team, run by the brilliant Billy Beane, on track for it’s 3rd straight division title and possibly a World Series title.

What interests me the most though (other than Beane’s brilliance) is their stadium situation. For those of you new to it, here are the highlights:

1) They play in the Oakland County Coliseum, an old and decrepit park that is falling apart.

2) They sought to move to nearby San Jose only to be blocked by the neighboring San Francisco Giants, claiming territory infringement, never mind that, in the early 90’s, Wally Haas, the owner of the Oakland Athletics at the time, agreed to grant the Giants exclusive rights to the South Bay so the Giants could explore all potential local sites for a new stadium and at least help to keep the team in the Bay Area. So the Giants are hypocrites. The A’s did them a huge favor back in the 90’s and the Giants are unwilling to reciprocate.

3) a few years back, Major League Baseball supposedly started a study to analyze the A’s stadium situation. The study is either still ongoing, or the results haven’t been released. Sounds like the MLB is stalling.

Those are the highlights. All of this makes me wonder: Why don’t the A’s consider a move to a location farther away? While the MLB has vetoed moves in the past, let’s just say, for the sake of discussion, that they’ll approve all moves save for one which I’ll mention below. After all, the A’s have a history of being a wandering team, with Oakland being their third home, after Philadelphia then Kansas City. Here’s a list of possible candidates, keeping in mind that MLB wants them to stay in the American League West, so the city needs to fit the definition of a western city.

1) Sacramento: Decent population, (27th overall in the U.S, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,215,770) already supports an NBA team, still in California. A little isolated, but not as much as say, Seattle. Regional rivals would include the Angels and the Mariners.

2) Portland: Similar to Sacramento: Decent population, (24th overall, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,314,554) already supports an NBA team. A little isolated, but again, not as much as Seattle. Relatively close to Seattle, which is also in the AL West, so that creates a regional rivalry.

3) San Antonio: Decent population, (25th overall, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,277,550) already supports an NBA team. Not as isolated and close to another AL West team, the Rangers, which would create a natural rivalry.

4) Vancouver: Decent population (3rd overall in Canada, with a 2011 population of 2,313,328) already supports an NHL team. Very close to Seattle, which would create a natural rivalry. One bad possibility though: Seattle might throw a territorial rights hissy fit, similar to San Francisco, making it possible that the MLB would never approve this move, or at the very least, launch one of it’s never ending studies of the move.

and the one the MLB wouldn’t approve, our elephant in the room…

5) Las Vegas: Decent population (31st overall, with a 2013 population estimate of 2,027,868) While it’s the smallest city of the bunch, that isn’t what kills it’s chances. The thing that kills it is gambling, which is very prevalent in the city. Never mind that quite a bit of gambling is done online these days, and if i wanted to bet on a team here in Texas (or Missouri or New York or…) I could. I guess it’s the idea of being in the gambling capital of the U.S that bothers the MLB (and all the other pro sports for that matter) and yet they don’t have a problem in being in the 2 Marijuana capitals in the U.S (Seattle and Denver) but like I said, online gambling is very prevalent, so why not consider a city which excels in marketing. The city markets itself well, and would spread the word about the team and definitely get it’s population interested in them. But all of this is moot, as it would never get approved.

These are the top 5 cities off the top of my head. If you think I’ve missed anyone, let me know.

All of this, of course, depends on the MLB allowing the A’s to move. Well, if the MLB and it’s commissioner Bud Selig aren’t going to step in and force the Giants to relent, they should allow the A’s to consider other cities to move to. Since Bud Selig is retiring soon, I hope the next commissioner is more decisive, like the NBA’s Donald Sterling.