Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Royal Thank A Twin

Here is what we know about the World Series:

It may be decided by Glen Perkins. Perkins, some of you may note, plays for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins, some of you may further note, are not playing in the World Series. As a matter of fact, they got about as close to the Series as I currently am to the Coachella Valley and the big carrot festival therein, which is to say "not very".


But Perkins saved the All Star Game, which gave home field advantage in the World Series to the American League, and if there is one indisputable fact about this World Series besides "Madison Bungarner is a hell-beast from beyond the stars once he gets on the mound", it's that the Royals' lineup is built for AL rules and not NL. In San Francisco, with no DH, they were faced with the choice of putting either one of their best gloves or one of their best bats on the bench. Wisely or not - and the ways of Ned Yost are not the ways of mortal man - they chose to put big bopper Billy Butler on the bench and put a glove-first outfield out there. I think it's safe to say this might have cost them, as the Giants - with a bench built on speed and versatility - took 2 out of 3 in their home park. 

Swap to KC, however, and it's literally a different ballgame. Put Butler back in the lineup and the Royals' batting order transforms, Grimlock style, to become much more beastly. Conversely, put the Giants under AL rules and there's basically one way they can play it - plug streaky Michael Morse in at DH and pray. NL benches aren't built to have a lumbering slugger lurking at the end of them; they're built for flexibility and double switches. A stick-only guy who can only play first or left is a liability, a tool that's rarely going to get used, and which is going to be set aside quickly on those rare occasions when he is called on. Which is a nice way of saying that moving from KC to SF weakened the Royals far more than it weakened the Giants, and that moving back the other way for games 6 and 7 reverses that effect; the Giants get much less of a boost from the DH than the Royals do. 

And for the fact that the Royals will indeed have their best lineup out there - the one that doesn't have the pitcher batting - and thus have a better chance to win game 7 and their first World Series in 19 years, they can thank Glen Perkins.
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