How the Royals can steal the momentum (literally)
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It's fair to say that San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner took the Kansas City Royals out of their game last night with a dominant performance. The Royals could not steal their way to any runs, which is their cup of tea. Game 2 is not necessarily a must win for the Royals (the 85 team was one of the few team to recover down 0-2), but going on the road for 3 games down 2-0 is tough and I'm sure Kansas City will want to avoid that.
So, how do they avoid that? Getting back to their game, which they'll have an opportunity to do against ex-Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy. Jake Peavy has been good for the Giants, posting a 6-4 record and a 2.17 ERA since being traded by the Red Sox before the trade deadline. Take heart, Royals fans - Jake Peavy does have some control issues (63 in the regular season to 158 K's, 6 walks to 5 K's in 2 postseason starts), which he showed early in the year when he was still in the Red Sox rotation. The Royals are a contact team, but patience is a virtue, especially in this game against this particular pitcher. I'm sure you heard the phrase in Little League, "A walk is as good as a hit." In the Royals' case, this especially holds true tonight - a walk is as good as a hit. Patience will be key for the top guys. If the top of the order can get on base, then Kansas City can get into their rhythm of stealing bases and playing small ball.
Of course, if by some miracle, the Royals don't read this and don't take my advice, they'll still get plenty to hit from Peavy. He's not exactly what you would call an overwhelming power pitcher - he won't beat you with a 95+ MPH fastball and mix it up with a change up and other breaking pitches to get you out. His fastball is in the high 80's to low 90's - not overwhelming, so the Royals can expect to see a lot of hittable pitches. Plenty of chances to put balls in play for the Royals and beat balls out.
The point is this - get into your rhythm early if your Kansas City, score early and get into your bullpen with a lead. And when/if the Royals get into their bullpen with a lead, their chances of winning skyrocket. Not to discount San Francisco's lineup, but KC's bullpen is that good. Give their bullpen a lead and you're virtually gauranteed a win.
Thoughts? Let me know on Twitter or leave a comment. All stats from ESPN.com.