Jason Vargas has always been an interesting sort. He's not particularly outgoing, at least not in the media. His persona of the disinterest is both refreshing for its honesty and somewhat disconcerting for his lack of passion. It served him well through most of the year, carrying him to a 3.71 ERA across 187 innings.
Before his last start in the American League Championship Series, reporters asked Vargas how he prepared and tried to stay sharp during the long delay between starts. His response, and I'm paraphrasing here, was to shrug his shoulders as he swung gently in the hammock he had brought into the press room.
Aside from his demeanor, another thing going in Vargas' favor is San Francisco has a very left-handed tilted lineup. Panik is left-handed. Blanco is left-handed. Sandoval is a switch-hitter who hit .199/.244/.319 from the right side. Ishikawa bats left-handed. Dueling Brandon's Crawford and Belt both hit from the left side, though it is likely that Michael Morse will make a start. Though his lines are fairly close together, Vargas suppresses left-handed power:
2014 Vs. RHBs: .265/.311/.419
2014 Vs. LHBs: .266/.306/.355
Vargas has also pitched better on the road than at home this season, and if you are a Royals fan and you are reading this (which, hello Giants fans), none of this makes you feel good about Vargas' start tonight.
The Giants counter with Ryan Vogelsong, an extreme flyball pitcher (61.6 FB%) in a spacious ballpark. Vargas flyball percentage this season was 61.7%. There's a lot of sameness to this matchup. The only difference being that Vogelsong is right-handed, and the Royals lineup leans left-handed as well (though not nearly to the extreme as the Giants). Gordon, Hosmer, Aoki, Moustakas, and Dyson all swing from the south side, hit right-handed pitching better than left, and in most cases are due for a breakout.
That being said, this will probably be a blowout or a nailbiter. Baseball's a funny game. Funny in a, I think I left the gas on oh wait ha ha I'm homeless, kind of way.