Excitement Builds for Upcoming MLB Face-off

Allie Rooney '16 Sport Editor

This postseason, Major League Baseball has definitely given fans across the country something to watch, and this excitement will only heighten as the final games are soon to be played. With only two teams remaining who will vie for the World Series title, baseball fans will either be cheering for the Kansas City Royals or the San Francisco Giants. The two teams will begin championship play on Oct. 21 in Kansas City. The Royals will benefit from home field advantage because of the American League’s victory in the All Star Game this past July.

The two teams entered the post-season as two of four wild cards from each league – the American League and the National League. The Royals faced the Oakland Athletics while the Giants played the Pittsburgh Pirates in elimination game match ups. After advancing to the next round of play, which was a best-of-five division series, the Royals beat the Los Angeles Angels and the Giants eliminated the Washington Nationals.

Then came the best-of-seven League Championship Series in which the Royals swept the Baltimore Orioles in four games, while the Giants needed just five games to outdo their opponent, the St. Louis Cardinals.

This is only the second time in the history of Major League Baseball in which two wild card teams have met in the World Series. The last time this happened was in 2002 when the Los Angeles Angels beat the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants return to compete for the World Series title for the third time in five years. They are no strangers to post-season play. However, quite the opposite is true for their final opponent. The Royals have not qualified for postseason play since 1983 – just over a 30-year playoff drought. Despite what some might consider their lack of experience in this high-pressure situation, experts aren’t totally ruling the Royals out yet. There are many baseball analysts who are confident they will put up a good fight. They are 8-0 throughout the postseason so far.

Perhaps the Giants’ strong suit will be their bullpen. Lefty pitcher Madison Bumgarner has posted a 1.42 earned runs against average in his four starts during this postseason. He is expected to start for the Giants in game one of the World Series. The Royals will likely start right-handed ace James Shields. Another factor that may play to Kansas City’s advantage is that they will have had an extra day of rest since their last game against the Orioles. In addition, the Royals led the league with stolen bases this season, which helped to power their offense.

During the regular season, the two teams met for a three-game series in August. The Royals swept the Giants during these meetings. However, if anything is true, it is that baseball is a very unpredictable sport. There is no clear cut favorite to win this championship.

Whichever team ends up as champions, they will set a record for most postseason victories in a single postseason with 12.