Last night, Game 1 of the 2014 World Series began at 5:07 p.m. 12 pitches later, Panda doubled, scoring Gregor Blanco. Seven pitches after that, Hunter Pence hit a two-run home run, silenced the crowd, destroyed dreams, and won the game. Yes, the game was over at the top of the 1st. Because do you know what happens when you spot Madison Bumgarner three runs in the World Series? You lose, that's what.
That's not bluster, it's science. Madison has pitched 22 innings over three World Series. In his first eight, he allowed the Rangers zero runs. In his next seven, he allowed the Tigers zero runs. Last night, in his first 6 and 2/3, he allowed the Royals zero runs. Then he gave up a solo home run, but whatever. 22 World Series innings, one run. If you give Madison three runs, you better plan to play him for 67 innings.
That's not to say the Royals didn't make it interesting. They did, like, once. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, after an error and a double, the Royals had men on second and third with no outs. Not good. All of a sudden, the Giants' three-run lead didn't feel so safe. At this point, Tom Verducci, one of the FOX broadcast booth guys, said if you offered Madison the chance to get out of the inning with only one run scored, Madison would jump at it. This is why national broadcasters blow. They don't know Madbum. He launched four snotrockets, struck out the next two batters, and got the final out on a grounder to second. Zero runs scored. Thanks for the offer though, Tom.
The Royals never threatened after that. In fact, other than the annoying Salvador Perez home run in the bottom of the 7th, the Royals didn't get a single man on base after the 3rd inning.
So, the Giants took Game 1, winning 7-1. This stat came up a lot after the game last night: The team that won Game 1 won 10 of the last 11 World Series games. It's not hard to see why. Imagine if the Royals beat Madison last night. Imagine losing your best shot at winning a game and then asking Peavy and Huddy and Vogey to do what Madbum could not. Imagine that despair. Or ask the Rangers and Tigers. When the Giants took down Game 1 pitchers Cliff Lee in 2010 and Justin Verlander in 2012, that was all she wrote. We can now add "Big Game" James Shields to that list.
This thing is not over. Not by a long shot. But it's so much nicer being on this side of 1-0 than the other.
1. You know who makes the best base runners? Guys who are fast. Who are long and limber. You know who's not any of that? Buster. God knows we all love the kid, but holy cow, it has to stop. He has to stop. Tim Flannery, our third-base coach has to stop him. Last night, Buster Posey was thrown out at the plate for the THIRD time this postseason. Three potential runs taken off the board and three outs put on. Replace Flannery with a stop-light and do it now.
2. The Royals are at their most dangerous when they get men on base. Once that happens, anything can happen. Thankfully they were wholly unable to get on last night, but that's bound to change, and when it does, they'll test our pitchers' concentration and Buster's arm.
3. It's always fun to beat a team wearing white uniforms with blue, cursive script across the chest.
5. Let's go Giants!!!
Game 1: at Kansas City (WON)
Game 2: Wednesday, 5:07 PM, at Kansas City, Peavy v. Ventura.
Game 3: Friday, 5:07 PM, at home, Guthrie v. Huddy.
Game 4: Saturday, 5:07 PM, at home, Vargas v. Vogey
Game 5: Sunday, 5:07 PM, at home, Shields v. undecided (if necessary)
Game 6: Tuesday, 5:07 PM, at Kansas City (if necessary)
Game 7: Wednesday, 5:07 PM, at Kansas City (if necessary)