Wild-card run even wilder for 2014 World Series

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Royals manager Ned Yost watches batting practice Monday.

As the Tigers sit at home, there has to be a sense of "Why not us?"

After all, the Giants, who played the Tigers in the World Series two years ago, are back. And here are the Royals, a team absolutely manhandled by the Tigers during the regular season.

But that's baseball, and you can't predict baseball.

And nobody could've predicted this, the second all-wild card World Series in history. And this one is more impressive than the 2002 Giants-Angels showdown, given the new wild-card era, where the non-division champs must win a do-or-die game, burning their ace in the process, just to reach the Division Series.

Not that the Giants or Royals made it look hard. Each steamrolled through the Division and Championship series, the Giants losing twice and the Royals not at all. In fact, four more wins, and the Royals will be the first team in the expanded-playoff era to go undefeated in the postseason — and the first team since the 1976 Reds.

San Francisco Giants (88-74)

How they got here: d. Pirates in wild card; d. Nationals, 3-1, in NLDS; d. Cardinals, 4-1, in NLCS

How they were built


Gregor Blanco, CF: Free agent, 2011. (Earns $2.525M)

Joe Panik, 2B: Drafted in 1st round, 2011. ($500K)

Buster Posey, C: Drafted in 1st round, 2008. ($12.5M)

Pablo Sandoval, 3B: Amateur free agent, May 2003. ($8.25M)

Hunter Pence, RF: Acquired from Phillies, 2012. ($16M)

Mike Morse, DH: Free agent, 2013. ($6M)

Brandon Belt, 1B: Drafted in 5th round, 2009. ($2.9M)

Travis Ishikawa, LF: Free agent, 2014. ($1M)

Brandon Crawford, SS: Drafted in 4th round, 2008. ($560K)


■Joaquin Arias: Free agent, 2011. ($1.15M)

Juan Perez: Drafted in 13th round, 2008. ($501K)


■Madison Bumgarner, LH: Drafted in 1st round, 2007. ($3.75M)

Jake Peavy, RH: Acquired from Red Sox, 2014. ($14.5M)

Tim Hudson, RH: Free agent, 2013. ($11M)

Ryan Vogelsong, RH: Free agent, 2011. ($5M)


■Jeremy Affeldt, LH: Free agent, 2008. ($6M)

Tim Lincecum, RH: Drafted in 1st round, 2006. ($17M)

Sergio Romo, RH: Drafted in 28th round, 2005. ($5.5M)

Santiago Casilla, RH (closer): Free agent, 2010. ($4.5M)


■Bruce Bochy: Hired in 2006. ($4M)

Kansas City Royals (89-73)

How they got here: d. A's in wild card; d. Angels, 3-0, in ALDS; d. Orioles, 4-0, in ALCS

How they were built


■Alcides Escobar, SS: Acquired from Brewers, 2010. (Earns $3M)

Nori Aoki, RF: Acquired from Brewers, 2013. ($1.95M)

Lorenzo Cain, CF: Acquired from Brewers, 2010. ($546K)

Eric Hosmer, 1B: Drafted in 1st round, 2008. ($3.6M)

Billy Butler, DH: Drafted in 1st round, 2004. ($8M)

Alex Gordon, LF: Drafted in 1st round, 2005. ($10M)

Salvador Perez, C: Amateur free agent, 2006. ($1.5M)

Omar Infante, 2B: Free agent, 2013. ($5M)

Mike Moustakas, 3B: Drafted in 1st round, 2007. ($549K)


■Jarrod Dyson: Drafted in 50th round, 2006. ($530K)

Terrance Gore: Drafted in 20th round, 2011. ($500K)


■James Shields, RH: Acquired from Rays, 2012. ($13.5M)

■Yordano Ventura, RH: Amateur free agent, 2008. ($500K)

■Jason Vargas, LH: Free agent, 2013. ($7M)

■Jeremy Guthrie, RH: Acquired from Rockies, 2012. ($8M)


■Brandon Finnegan, LH: Drafted in 1st round, 2014. ($500K)

■Kelvin Herrera, RH: Amateur free agent, 2006. ($522K)

■Wade Davis, RH: Acquired from Rays, 2012. ($4.8M)

■Greg Holland, RH (closer): Drafted in 10th round, 2007. ($4.675M)


■Ned Yost: Hired in 2010. ($2M)


While some consider it a surprising matchup, it's really not. These teams epitomize "solid." They pitch. They play spectacular defense. And while they won't wow you with offense, they hit enough, and in the clutch. The Royals appear to be a team of destiny, if you buy into that sort of thing, with all those extra-inning wins. But the Giants are October's darlings, guided by the superior manager and too much World Series experience to ignore. And that matters. Giants in five