By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor, The Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – The San Francisco Giants moved one step closer to their third World Series title in five years on Sunday.
But, whatever transpired on the field seemed a bit inconsequential to what happened down in the Dominican Republic earlier in the day, as St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras and a female companion were killed in a car accident.
Taveras was 22.
“We are all stunned and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of the youngest members of the Cardinals family,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. “Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends tonight.”
Taveras may have only had 80 games under his belt, but his was a name that we’ve all heard about for years. Always ranked near the top of whatever young prospects list you follow, Taveras’ sweet swing almost certainly had him headed for stardom.
Now, sadly we’ll never know.
“I simply can’t believe it,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “I first met Oscar when he was 16 years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest.”
Still, there was a game that was played and Madison Bumgarner is not just having a nice run anymore, it’s historic. And there is no more debate. He is the best postseason pitcher in the game.
Bumgarner followed up his Game 1 gem with an even better outing, as he tossed a four-hit shutout to lead the Giants to a 5-0 win, San Francisco now holds a 3-2 edge in the series and will get its first shot at closing it out on Tuesday in Kansas City.
But make no mistake it is only in this position because of Bumgarner, who has now won all four of his World Series starts and has pitched to a 0.29 ERA in the process. He has only allowed 12 hits and one run in 31 innings with 28 strikeouts.
That’s not Josh Beckett stuff, that’s Bob Gibson stuff.
His performance on Sunday was just magnificent, as he became the first pitcher in World Series history to toss a shutout with no walks and at least eight strikeouts.
Offensively the Giants aren’t doing anything special. After rapping out 13 singles during Saturday’s 11-4 outburst, they hit 11 more in Sunday’s win.
And neither team has homered since the series shifted to San Francisco.
It’s essentially the series we all thought we’d get. The Giants would win the Bumgarner games, the Royals would probably get the others. But if San Francisco could find a way to win one of the other games before heading back to Kansas City, the Royals would be in trouble.
That’s exactly how it has played out.
But I still like the Royals. Mainly because I give them the edge in both pitching matchups. Yordano Ventura was terrific in his Game 2 start. At the very least he was better than his counterpart Jake Peavy.
And I don’t think people realize just how good Jeremy Guthrie has been since the start of September. I’d have no problem giving him the ball in a Game 7, especially against Tim Hudson.
Now if this does go seven games, and I’d be shocked if it doesn’t, you better believe we are going to see Bumgarner again in some capacity.
Here’s a nice little stat to raise the Royals hopes, This is the third time the Giants have found themselves ahead in a World Series, 3-2, They eventually lost the other two series.
So, yes, the Giants will try to close out the Royals for their eighth world title on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
But, I think everyone’s thoughts are with the St. Louis Cardinals organization.