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 hadn't lost a postseason game this year until dropping Game 1. 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 regular-season series 3-0, outscoring them 16-6 over the three games. The Giants took Game 1 of the World Series, but the Royals came back and won Game 2.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Jeremy Guthrie (13-11, 4.13) vs. Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57); Saturday — Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (8-13, 4.00); Sunday — James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98)
What's Hot: Bumgarner has been the star of this postseason, and if things go well for the Giants he could be on the hill to close the series out at home. Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, who's accustomed to World Series heroics, are a combined 7-for-16 with four RBIs.
Billy Butler is batting .500 through the first two games but will be at the mercy of Ned Yost's lineup decision for the next three games without the benefit of the designated hitter, and he might just be relegated to serving as a bench bat. The Royals bullpen, minus Danny Duffy, has tossed shutout ball through two games. The Royals' bullpen is a wild card in this series and is a big advantage, even though the Giants' is solid, too.
What's Not: Reliever Hunter Strickland has probably pitched himself out of any more work this season with his episode on Wednesday night of yelling at Salvador Perez after he crossed the plate on a home run. It was the fifth homer Strickland has surrendered in 5 1/3 innings this postseason.
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Shields was awful in his Game 1 loss, allowing five runs in just three innings of work giving him an unsightly 15.00 ERA in the World Series. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer, two of the stars of the postseason leading into the World Series are a combined 0-for-13 through the first two games. Hosmer has walked twice.