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article imageDominant starting pitchers take the mound in World Series Game 1

By Nate Smith     Oct 21, 2014 in Sports
Kansas City - A top-flight pitching matchup is among the headlines as the World Series commences in earnest Tuesday from Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, a town that hasn't hosted a World Series game in nearly 30 years.
The San Francisco Giants look to cap off one of the most impressive five-years runs in Major League Baseball history, while the homestanding Royals are out to cap off one of the most memorable five-week runs in recent baseball memory.
Both teams are rested and will send out their best starting pitchers in Game 1. (8:07 p.m. ET; National Fox Network)
Madison Bumgarner gets the ball for the Giants. In four playoff starts, Bumgarner is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA over 31.2 innings. He's allowed five earned runs over those four starts and opponents are batting .170 against him.
The Giants ace hurled a complete game shutout in a Wild Card game victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates to begin these playoffs. He was also named the Most Valuable Player in San Francisco's 4-1 National League Championship Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Starting pitcher for the Royals is James Shields, who earned the nickname "Big Game" James Shields for big game performances turned in primarily with his former club, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Shields is 1-0 so far in the postseason, but his ERA is over five; he's pitched a combined 16 innings and opponents are hitting better than .300 against him.
Moniker notwithstanding, Shields' postseason numbers are not altogether eye-popping. Combined with his three starts this postseason, Big Game James has surrendered 61 hits in 50 career playoff innings pitched, with a 3-4 record and an ERA of 5.19.
Still, Shields turned in 227 innings this season across 34 starts. He struck out 180 batters, turning in a 14-8 record and a 3.21 ERA.
His stuff is every bit as good as that of his counterpart's.
And every bit as good as the starting pitchers is the quality of each club's bullpen.
Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland — who closes out ballgames — are the three best relievers in the Kansas City bullpen, which has combined for 33 innings and a sub-2 ERA this postseason.
San Francisco's bullpen has been similarly impressive, having also turned in an ERA below two in 33 playoff innings pitched.
The Royals went 15-11 in the month of September to come from behind and secure a spot in the American League playoff race. Since getting in, the Royals survived a wild extra-innings American League Wild Card game, and still haven't lost, going 8-0 so far in the playoffs.
Dating back to the club's 1985 World Series championship, the Royals have won 11 straight playoff games and that is the longest active streak in Major League Baseball.
This is also the team's first trip back to the playoffs since that 1985 season.
Coming off a down year, the Giants have returned to the playoffs and seek the club's third World Series in five years. San Francisco also won the World Series in 2010 and 2012.
Other scheduled World Series probable starters so far:
GAME 2: Giants: Jake Peavy; Royals: Yordano Ventura; 8:07 p.m. (ET), Wednesday;
GAME 3: Royals: TBA; Giants: Tim Hudson, 8:07 p.m. (ET), Friday;
GAME 4: Royals: TBA; Giants: Ryan Vogelsong, 8:07 p.m. (ET) Saturday;
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