Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What to look for in tonight's World Series Game 7

Is there anything better than a World Series Game 7? A marathon season that begins in mid-February and runs through the end of October, comes to an end with a winner take all contest.

After rolling through the first three rounds, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants will face off in Kauffman Stadium tonight with the winner securing a ring. The Royals are looking for their first title since 1985, while the Giants are attempting to grab their third in five years.

A certain contrast in drama. With a win, one team erases decades of misery for their fans and the other builds a reputation as arguably the best team since 2010 for theirs.

With a championship on the line, here are some things to look out for in Game 7.

Tim Hudson

Hudson goes for the Giants and will look to push aside a sloppy Game 3 start. Hudson is 39 years old and will be the oldest pitcher to start a World Series Game 7. He's also looking for his first World Series victory, and just his second career postseason win.

What’s the spread?

These are the game deficits thus far - 6, 5, 1, 7, 5 and 10. Will there be any late-inning magic required to win or will the trend of not-so-close games prevail? FOX is hoping for the former.

FOX TV ratings

Well they’re sure to get a boost. Where will it rank against the last game seven? Does MLB with its regionalism mentality care? Thus far the games have been drawing a modest 11 to 12 million viewers making it the lowest watched series ever. Expect that viewership to jump significantly tonight but not make much of a difference when compared to past seven-game series.

The bullpens

Which bullpen is called upon first and which one protects the trophy? The Royals' pen has been fantastic all season. The Giants relievers have been less dominant in this series. Expect the managers to waste no time dipping into the well should their starter begin to falter.

Manager moves

Which manager makes the right/wrong call? Neither manager has been particularly fantastic or truly had to make many moves to impact a game. Every single move tonight will be magnified with the title on the line. Will Bruce Bochy make a genius call, or will Ned Yost overcome his critics?

Madison Bumgarner

Will we see him? The Royals hope not or do they hope so? On one hand if he enters the game it likely means the Royals have knocked out Hudson. But, if Bumgarner enters he could surely stop any bleeding and keep the Giants in the contest. The Giants' righty has allowed just one run in 16 innings during this World Series.

Speed or power?

We haven’t seen much of either. The Royals have hit three home runs and the stolen just one base (after smashing the ball and running hog wild over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series). The Giants have only two dingers and one steal. It’s been a series loaded with singles and a smattering of doubles.

Most likely hero

Who will be the hero? Lorenzo Cain? Eric Hosmer? Jeremy Guthrie? Hudson? Bumgarner? Hunter Pence?

Unlikely star

Which player, who no one expects to influence the game, will make the big play whether it’s a clutch hit, a game-saving catch or a shutdown inning? Think Travis Ishikawa sending the Giants to the World Series. Or maybe Jarrod Dyson uses his wheels to manufacture the winning run.

There are other factors in play I am sure. What will you be looking for when the Royals take on the Giants tonight in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series? And who is crowned the champion? Let me know in the comments below.

World Series logo courtesy of

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In.