On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every postseason series during the 2014 season.
The Teams: The 2014 World Series is a history-maker in the fact that both contestants were forced to play the one-game Wild Card play-in. In fact, the Royals haven't lost a postseason game, winning eight straight, including that Wild Card win over the A's. The Giants are back in the Fall Classic after winning it all in 2010 and 2012 while missing the postseason in 2011 and 2013. Even-numbered years are their friends.
Past 2014 Meetings: The teams actually met in Interleague play, with the Royals winning the season series 3-0, outscoring them 16-6 over the three games.
Pitching Matchups: Tuesday — James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98); Wednesday — Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20) vs. Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.73); Friday — Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71) vs. Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57); Saturday — Jeremy Guthrie (13-11, 4.13) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (8-13, 4.00)
What's Hot: Eric Hosmer has been absolutely tearing it up this postseason. In the Royals' eight games — all wins — he's hitting .448 with two homers and eight RBIs to go with seven walks. Mike Moustakas gave the Royals a much-needed power surge with four home runs so far this postseason, and Alex Gordon, despite hitting .222, has a team-high nine RBIs this postseason. That Royals' bullpen? Wowzers. They're unreal and the MVP of the team. Greg Holland has six saves in the eight games, and Wade Davis has a 0.96 ERA while appearing in every game. Now, they're fresh with the long layoff.
Like always, the Giants' offense hasn't been incredibly awesome or anything. In fact, only two regulars are hitting over .300 this postseason, led by Pablo Sandoval's .326 with just one RBI. Buster Posey is batting .302 with no extra-base hits and five RBIs. Madison Bumgarner has been spectacular in his four postseason starts, putting up 31 2/3 innings of work while allowing just five earned runs. Closer Santiago Casilla is 4-for-4 on his postseason save opportunities.
What's Not: The Royals' two top starters, Shields and Ventura, have both been very mediocre with ERAs of 5.63 and 4.85 in the postseason. Catcher Salvador Perez, who was the hero of the AL Wild Card Game, is hitting just .118 this postseason.
Vogelsong has been easily the Giants' weak link on their starting rotation after posting a 5.19 ERA in his two postseaon starts so far.