In game three of the World Series, be ready for a combined total of Over 7 runs in Kansas City when the Royals visit the San Francisco Giants; take it at 1.91.
In the first two games of this series, the Giants and the Royals have shown an ability – against the right pitcher – to score big. San Francisco put up seven runs (primarily against James Shields) in game one, and Kansas City returned the favour (mostly versus Jake Peavy) in game two.
On Friday, both teams are facing pitchers who are vulnerable. San Francisco’s Tim Hudson has pitched one good game this post-season (he started his team’s marathon 18-inning victory over the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series), but, otherwise, the veteran has struggled dating all the way back to the All-Star break. In the second half of the year, Hudson went 2-7 with a 4.73 ERA. His one good outing against Washington feels unrepresentative as he came back in the NL Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and was hit hard. In 6 1/3 innings, he allowed seven hits and four runs.
The Royals’ starter, Jeremy Guthrie, had a mediocre 2014, amassing a 4.13 ERA (and an even worse fielding independent pitching statistic, which is scaled like ERA but is generally a better indicator of performance; his FIP was 4.32). In addition, San Francisco hitters have a good history against the 35-year-old right-hander. In admittedly a small sample size (45 plate appearances), Giants batters nevertheless own a robust .308 batting average, .378 on base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage.
Take the Royals, on at 2.08, to win on the road against the Giants.
As discussed above the pitchers in this game are at a disadvantage. Ultimately, though, I do like Guthrie’s current form better (he had a 3-1 record and a 2.40 ERA in his final five starts of the regular season and posted a 1.80 ERA in his one playoff start). I also remain bullish on the Royals’ bullpen compared to the Giants’ relief corps. Even with the day off, the Giants were forced to dig deep into their pitching depth on Wednesday, using six pitchers, while the Royals were more economical with three relief pitchers.
Generally speaking, the move to AT&T Park cuts in the Giants direction. But the Royals were the absolute best road team in the American League during the 2014 regular season campaign. As for the Giants, they were only slightly above-average among all National League teams in terms of home winning percentage, placing sixth out of fifteen in the circuit.