If you had said at the beginning of the series that the Royals could find themselves tied 2-2 with home field advantage and James Shields on the mound in Game 5, you'd be pretty thrilled right? And yet a lot of Royals Twitter seems to be all doom and gloom after the Royals got shell-shocked in Game 4 and face the prospect of facing Madison Bumgarner.
Madison Bumgarner is a very good pitcher, and has been lights out in the post-season, but let's not act like he's peak-Greg Maddux here. Bumgarner was only the 20th best pitcher by fWAR this year, behind a pitcher by the name of James Shields. Bumgarner curiously had a 4.05 ERA at AT&T Park this year despite a higher strikeout rate, and a lower home rate run at home. The Royals defeated him 4-2 back on August 8. In short, he's hittable. Game 5 is not a forgone conclusion.
Here are how the Royals line up against him.
Here Comes The Wolf Lineup: Escobar 6, Gordon 7, Cain 9, Hosmer 3, Perez 2, Moustakas 5, Infante 4, Dyson 8, Shields 1.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) October 26, 2014
Salvador Perez moves up to the #5 spot, bumping Mike Moustakas to #6 against the tough lefty. Interestingly, Jarrod Dyson continues to get the start despite an inability to hit lefties. Nori Aoki, while a lefty himself, has a reverse split and might fare better offensively against Bumgarner. But Ned Yost is certainly counting on a low-scoring game, putting defense at a premium.
How bout the Giants.
The #SFGiants Game 5 lineup: Blanco CF Panik 2B Posey C Sandoval 3B Pence RF Belt 1B Ishikawa LF Crawford SS Bumgarner P #WorldSeries— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 26, 2014
Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval flip back to their usual spots in the lineup. Oh boy, good to seIe Travis Ishikawa back in the lineup. If Ned is putting a premium on defense, Bruce Bochy certainly isn't. This could be interesting.
I wonder how many times in World Series a pitcher with a last name starting with the letter "S" has faced a pitcher with the last name starting with the letter "B". Get on important facts like that, FOX.