It's Shields-Ventura-Vargas-Gutherie vs. Baumgarner-Peavy-Hudson-Vogelsong. Both rotations are hit or miss for the most part. Peavy's been pretty good despite a mediocre regular season, on the other side of that coin, Vogelsong struggled against the Cardinals, an unusual occurrence considering he had a good regular season. I'll go with the Giants because while Shields has looked uncomfortable this postseason, they can send out Baumgarner and know they'll have a chance to win.
The Royals are particularly hard to judge in this category because of the inordinate amount of guys who have caught fire in the last few weeks. Their runs per game is up about a run and a fourth in the playoffs compared to the regular season.
The Royals don't just have a better defense than the Giants, but they're better than any other team in the league. The lead the league in defensive runs saved with 40 and UZR (ultimate zone rating) at 61.1. And that doesn't account for all the spectacular plays they made in the outfield this postseason.
Here's my idea for Ned Yost: Only pitch your relievers. Herrera can go 1-3, followed by Davis in the 4th through sixth and then Holland can close it out in the seventh through tenth.
The Royals have a unique group of almost all speedsters. Terrence Gore is the closest thing to Herb Washington in the league. The Giants have Mike Morse, and that's about it. Of course, that's all they needed last game.
A popular storyline coming up to this week as been "We were all wrong about Ned Yost! He's actually perfect to manage this Royals team!" The Royals are winning in spite of Yost, not because of him. They're doing well right now, and his strategies work when the right guys are up, like Escobar, but even when a heavy hitter like Moustakas is up and there's a guy on first he'll have him bunt no matter what. Meanwhile, Bochy is the classic laid back manager who doesn't over manage, and knows the manager's job is more to avoid losing games than it is to win them.
The team that hasn't been to the playoffs in 29 years vs. the team that's won two of the last four World Series? No question there. Although as I mentioned in my column a few days ago, the Giants aren't the classic juggernaut you would think they are.
The Giants got most of the edges here, but what the Royals have done can't be shown in words. You need to watch them to see it. I'll take the Royals in six.