This year’s World Series has been an amazing experience, with history being made in all different kinds of ways. The San Francisco Giants won their third World Series in five years, and the Kansas City Royals carried their year’s momentum all the way to their second World Series appearance.
The Giants were the first team in nine years to win a World Series Game seven on the road, and they can give all of their thanks to Madison Bumgarner, who cemented himself as the greatest World Series pitcher of all time. Game seven was the second-most watched MLB game in ten years, breaking a long string of years where ratings were low and falling lower. This was, without a doubt, one of the most dramatic and unusual World Series in recent memory.
The San Francisco Giants have enjoyed a wealth of success in recent years, since they have won the World Series three out of the last five years, but with Kansas City’s intimidating momentum, many bet against the team. No matter the situation, the Giants’ immense talent took over, with Pablo Sandoval, Madison Bumgarner, Hunter Pence and Joe Panik all delivering astounding performances.
No amount of recognition could acknowledge Madison Bumgarner’s performance enough, putting on the greatest pitching performance the postseason has ever seen, earning him the 2014 World Series MVP. Throughout the postseason, Bumgarner pitched with a 1.03 Earned Run Average (ERA), with a 0.43 ERA throughout the World Series – putting his ERA throughout his three World Series at 0.25 – in a postseason record 52.2 innings of work in seven appearances. His incredible 45 to six strikeout-to-walk ratio was only sensationally coupled by his relief performance in game seven, coming in in the bottom of the fifth, only to relinquish two hits and no runs to finish the game on only two days of rest. Even amazing defense needs an amazing offense, however, and Pablo Sandoval provided that.
“Panda,” as his teammates like to call him, batted an amazing .429 during the Fall Classic, earning hits in six out of seven games. Sandoval also set a new MLB Postseason record, recording 26 hits throughout the postseason, more than any other player in history. Instrumental to the Giants’ offense, Sandoval has marked his place in World Series performances, with a .426 batting average, three home runs, four doubles, and eight RBI in the 12 World Series games that he has performed in.
Luckily the Giants had those two players to rely on, to counter against the full-steam train that was the momentum of the Kansas City Royals. Having made the playoffs for the first time in 29 years, the Royals had mowed through their opponents throughout the postseason. Kansas City fans had been a huge part of that momentum, motivating their favorite team through huge crowds and ridiculous celebration, much like how the Boston Red Sox drew upon the electricity of their crowd in their 2004 World Series win. Of course, the fans didn’t have everything to do with their success, with sterling performances from Yordano Ventura, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon.
Yordano Ventura, a young-and-upcoming fireball thrower, threw for 25.1 innings, resulting in 9 earned runs in five total appearances, three of which were starts. Without a doubt, the future looks bright for Ventura, as many believe that he resembles a young Pedro Martinez.
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City’s first baseman, was stupendous throughout the postseason, leading the Royals in hits, batting average, walks and RBI. Although he had started the World Series slowly, Hosmer really got going throughout the thick of it, hitting six-for-14 with two doubles and three RBI. Had the Royals claimed the trophy, Hosmer had a real chance at earning the MVP award for the Series.
As for Alex Gordon, Kansas City’s franchise left fielder and who would make the tying run, was stranded at third base to end game seven, and with him, Kansas City’s title aspirations.
While it was without a doubt a crushing defeat for the Royals, the team has a bright future, with young talent found in abundance in Omar Infante, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Yordano Ventura, Alcides Escobar and what is widely considered the best relief pitching in the game.
With several records being broken, by teams and players alike, it is a struggle to imagine experiencing a more entertaining Fall Classic than this year’s happening any time soon.