The offenses reigned last night as the Giants finally got to the KC bullpen in a big way. Perhaps I put the jinx on Brandon Finnegan with yesterday picture, but the seemingly unflappable rookie got lit up and the game got out of control quickly in the Giants favor.
So now we stand even at two games apiece with the Giants bringing back Madison Baumgarner tonight, but the final two games are still looming back in Kansas City. SO which team has the series edge at this point? You have to like the Giants chances with Madison Baumgarner continuing his Sandy Koufax impression in the postseason, but after he pitches tonight? Even if the Royals are down 3-2, they are going home and don’t face another starting pitcher they’ll need to fear (though it does set up the made for TV Tim Hudson Game Seven start….)
We will deal with the end of the series soon enough. For now, let’s focus on tonight’s absolutely pivotal Game Five.
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Today’s Free Pick:
World Series Game Five – @ AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA
Kansas City Royals +147 at San Francisco Giants -155 (Total: 7)
James Shields vs. Madison Baumgarner
I know. I know. Another column starting off with the fact that the “Big Games” have been more than unkind to “Big Game James” Shields. But it HAS to be mentioned because it is becoming more than an anomaly; it’s now a fact. James Shields has NOT been good in the big games of the postseason. In his last three postseason starts he has an ERA of 7.93 with a WHIP of a nearly-unthnkable 1.91. That’s not just “not good” it’s downright terrible. His wildcard start wasn’t great either. Is it possible he is tiring at the end of the season? Or even that he just isn’t the big game pitcher his reputation suggests?
I’m leaning towards yes.
Now Baumgarner? His sterling reputation is growing by the day and it is all well-deserved. I know, the road splits are much better than his home numbers, but I’m going to go more with “oddity” than “causal.” This guy is dealing with confidence and his entire team knows they CAN’T lose with Bum on the bump.
Add in the Giants lineup which is dazzling lately. From the fundamental perfection of rookie Joe Panik, the middle of the order damage that Posey, Pence and Sandoval keep delivering and the scary punch at the bottom of the order with Belt, Ishikawa (if he’s in the lineup) and the thunder stick off the bench in Morse – this lineup is very deep, very good, and playing very well.
The Royals defense looked good, and that kept the game from being even more lopsided than it was (that and Vogelsong missing the bag in the 3rd inning). I don’t expect a ton of drama tonight. Look for the Giants to get a few runs off Shields and for MadBum to do the rest. Gimme the Giants to put the pressure on the Royals heading back home.