By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor, The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – After a 162-game regular season and three rounds of playoffs it all comes down to this. One game. Do or die for the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants in a Game 7 on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium.
It doesn’t get much better than a decisive game in any sport. Television ratings may suggest otherwise, but this has been a thrilling World Series.
And we will be treated to one more game because a young Kansas City right- hander turned into an ace in front of our eyes and the Royals offense exploded, as 23-year-old Yordano Ventura dominated the Giants over seven scoreless innings on Tuesday in a 10-0 rout.
Pitching with a heavy heart following the death of his good friend Oscar Taveras over the weekend, Ventura put forth his best effort of this postseason, as he allowed just three hits and recorded his first win of the playoffs.
And just like that all the momentum San Francisco had from winning the last two games in its ballpark is gone and now we move on to Game 7.
The Royals should have a clear edge in the pitching department on Wednesday. Yes I know that Madison Bumgarner will probably make an appearance at some point. But let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.
And at best Bumgarner is going to give the Giants two innings.
Kansas City will give the ball to righty Jeremy Guthrie, who has been as good as any pitcher in baseball since the start of September and defeated the Giants in Game 3.
Guthrie gave up a pair of runs in five innings of that one and became the first pitcher in baseball history to earn a victory without allowing a walk or striking out a batter.
He has won six of seven decisions since falling to Oakland on Aug. 12 and has allowed one run or less in six of those 10 starts in that span. He’s only given up three runs in 10 innings this postseason.
“My memories of a Game 7 probably go back to Jack Morris, ’91,” Guthrie said. “I remember that game. I was 12 years old, so certainly could appreciate the effort that he gave and the magnitude of the game, to be able to pitch like he did and win the World Series.”
And thanks to Ventura, the Royals’ incredible bullpen triumvirate of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland will be fully rested.
San Francisco, meanwhile, will rely on veteran righty Tim Hudson, who has given up seven runs 11 1/3 innings of his last two starts. Hudson lost to Guthrie and the Royals on Friday and surrendered three runs in 5 2/3 frames.
However, the 39-year-old, who will be the oldest pitcher to start a Game 7, was terrific in his NLDS start versus Washington.
Recent history is also on the Royals’ side as the home team has been victorious in each of the last nine World Series Game 7’s. In fact there hasn’t been a road team to prevail in this situation since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates upended Baltimore.
Furthermore, 13 of the last 14 teams to win a Game 6 at home to force a Game 7, in either the LCS or World Series rounds, went on to win Game 7. The only exception was the 2006 Mets, who lost NLCS Game 7 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Also 9 of the last 10 teams to lose Game 6 with a 3-2 lead have gone on to lose the series.
The last team with a 3-2 lead to lose Game 6 and win the series was the 1997 Marlins, and prior to them, the last such occurrence was the 1975 Reds.
And the Giants have never won a winner-take-all World Series game.
So yea, it doesn’t look good for the Giants on Wednesday.
But remember, this is an even year. And they do have Madison Bumgarner in their back pocket.
I picked Royals in six at the start. It may have taken them an extra game, but I’m sticking with the home team in Game 7.
GAME 7 PREDICTION: ROYALS, 6-2. (oh and I still give Bumgarner the MVP)