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Wild World Series could be coming with two wild-card teams in it again

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The 2002 World Series was the first and only one to feature two wild-card teams playing for the title of best baseball team in the world. The Anaheim Angels beat San Francisco in seven pulsating games to win their only World Series title in franchise history. Now the Giants are back in 2014, and this will be the second World Series with two wild-card teams, as Kansas City escaped out of the American League and will host San Francisco in Game 1 on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. FOX Network has the televised rights in the United States.

The Royals haven’t been to the World Series since 1985, and the Giants went from 1962 until 1989 between NL pennants. Three of the 12 all-time meetings between the teams were this year in Kansas City, where the Royals swept the Giants, outscoring them by a combined 16-6 in those games. The last time Kansas City played in San Francisco was in 2005 – when Barry Bonds was still the marquee name wearing orange-and-black and current Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt pitched for the Royals at the time.

The Giants are missing three key components from their World Series champion teams of 2010 and 2012. Former ace Matt Cain has been out for months with a season-ending injury. Leadoff hitter and center fielder Angel Pagan and 2012 NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro are also out for the year and reduced to cheerleading roles for the suddenly-surging Giants. Veteran pitcher Jake Peavy was added from Boston in a trade and had a resurgent second half and Gregor Blanco has been playing over his head for a month. Savvy general manager Brian Sabean has pressed all of the right buttons; he’s the longest-tenured GM in the league.

Kansas City has yet to lose in October. The Royals are a National League team disguised in the American League. The offense was dormant most of the season, but has arisen with a vigor in the playoffs, and their youth and pitching are second to none. With the best bullpen in the league and manager Ned Yost not afraid to employ his best three guys for an inning at a time, the Royals have the ability to turn out the lights on their foes if winning after six innings. The Royals also boast great defense, speed and baserunning, which figures to challenge star Giants catcher Buster Posey. It all adds up to a series price that’s hovering near “pick-em” at Bet33.com, and the Giants will be a slight Game 1 favorite with Madison Bumgarner toeing the rubber against Kansas City’s James Shields. See a full preview here.

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