James Shields ready to bounce back against SF Giants
FOR those that think the Giants now have the advantage in an absorbing World Series that has ebbed and flowed like the many supporter boats on the San Francisco Bay, you've been warned.
Kansas City Royals' starting pitcher James Shields is ready to bounce back in game five at AT&T Park today (AEST), in the series currently tied at 2-all, after the Giants' massive 11-4 win yesterday.
And that is also after the Giants' 7-1 thrashing over their American League rivals in game one of the Fall Classic.
Shields was pounded for five runs in Kansas City that night, in seven hits over just three innings, before Royals manager Ned Yost took him off the mound for an early shower.
The Giants have a lot going for them in today's game - momentum, home-ground advantage and the brilliant lefty Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner will start on the hill with a 1.40 earned run averaged from the post-season, his last outing a comprehensive victory over Shields in game one, pitching seven innings and giving up just three hits and one run.
But Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong believes Shields will be a tricky customer for his team's star batting line-up.
"He (Shields) had a long lay-off (of 11 days' rest before pitching again in game one of the World Series). He's definitely a 'touch' pitcher," Vogelsong said.
"When you have long layoffs like that and you're a 'feel guy' it becomes difficult, so I expect him to be better tomorrow (today) this time coming off a regular rest.
"We came in with a game plan (in game one) and our guys executed, so hopefully we can do it again tomorrow (today)."
Shields believes he has ironed out the kinks in his throwing action from game one of the World Series, after his extended time in the dugout.
"We had a good bullpen session and I fixed a few things. I was just kind of rushing my delivery a little bit and the ball was staying flat," he said.
"Hopefully it pans out on Sunday (today)."
Vogelsong showed plenty of promise as starting pitcher yesterday before some unlucky fielding incidents in the third inning saw him get pulled early, after the Royals took him for four runs in the top of that inning.
But Yusmeiro Petit got the hosts back on track with three quality relief frames, giving up just two hits and no runs.
A big sixth inning then saw San Francisco's "Kung Fu Panda" Pablo Sandoval drive in Gregor Blanco and Buster Posey, before Brandon Belt's single brought Hunter Pence home.
That saw San Francisco take a 7-4 lead, with two-run and four-run innings either side of that, in the fifth and seventh, ensuring the big win.
Vogelsong believes the Shields v Bumgarner match-up will be one worth watching.
"It'll be our No.1 v their No.1, so it should be an exciting ball game," Vogelsong said.
"We got some big hits tonight where more than one guy played a huge game.
"We needed to tie this series up and give the ball to Madison.
"We all know what he's done so far this post-season, so it'll be exciting to see what he brings for us tomorrow (today)."