Tonight, the San Fransisco Giants face the Kansas City Royals in Kauffman Stadium for game 2 of the World Series. Game 2 is an extremely important game. Here's why:
- In the last 15 World Series, 13 Game 1 winners have gone on to win the series. A 2-0 hole is as good as a death sentence in recent years.
- World Series teams up 1-0 have gone .638 (67-38) for the rest of the series.
- World Series teams up 2-0 have gone .804 (41-10) for the rest of the series.
- Still, World Series teams up 1-0 have a losing record of .486 (51-54) in game 2.
Though the Wild Card game against Oakland was arguably the most important single game in Kansas City Royals history, this second game is of monumental importance for the Royals, as important as a non-elimination game can possibly be. Winning, at home, means evening the series 1-1, and only one win in San Fransisco would force a return to Kansas City. Losing means having to win two games on the road to even force a return to Kansas City, and going 4-1 against the opposing team who has historically won 4 out of every 5 games when up 2-0.
Kansas City sends young flamethrower Yordano Ventura to the mound tonight. Ventura was one of the best rookies in the American League this year, and has an unmatched set of physical gifts including a 100 MPH fastball, an easy delivery, and secondary pitches that can be obliterating. Baseball Reference's version of WAR has Ventura and James Shields at essentially the same production level, which is quite telling for Ventura. Yordy was excellent against the Angels but decidedly less excellent against the Orioles. Hopefully, good Ventura comes to play.
San Fransisco sends veteran Jake Peavy to take on the recently listless Royals offense. Peavy's had a pretty good season, putting up solid numbers between the Red Sox and Giants. Peavy has had ample postseason experience, with 7 postseason starts spread across a quartet of years. However, like Shields, Peavy has struggled on the big stage, as his postseason ERA is north of 7, although he has been very solid this year.
You have to like this matchup for Kansas City, especially at home. Still, the importance of this particular game cannot be understated. The Royals have scored 5 runs over the past 3 games. If that continues tonight, you can pretty much close the book on this magical postseason.