San Francisco Giants: World Series Position-by-Position Breakdown

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Oct 16, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Santiago Casilla (46) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning of game five of the 2014 NLCS playoff at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The bullpens figure to be the best matchup in this series. Both ‘pens have been absolutely shutdown, and the numbers are extremely similar. Kansas City has a 1.80 ERA in 35 IP while San Francisco has a 1.78 ERA in 35.1 IP.

Closer: Santiago Casilla vs. Greg Holland

Holland is one of the best closers in baseball, as he converted 46 of his 48 save opportunities with a 1.44 ERA. The funny thing is that ERA was only the third best among the Royals’ bullpen. Casilla is one of the game’s most underrated pitchers, as he finished the season with a 1.70 ERA. As hard as it is to call, Holland gets the advantage

Core Guys: Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis vs. Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo

Ned Yost has a proven formula, using Herrera (1.41 ERA) in the seventh inning and Davis (1.00 ERA) in the eighth ahead of Holland. These three have been great all year, as they finished the regular season with three of the four best ERA’s in the American League.

Bruce Bochy’s core guys ahead of Casilla are Affeldt, Romo and Lopez. Those four have been together through all three pennants and have all been huge parts of each. They all know their role and make their best pitches when it matters most. Even despite the experience and numbers, Kansas City takes a slight edge.

The Middle Relief: Yusmeiro Petit, Hunter Strickland and Jean Machi vs. Brandon Finnegan, Tim Collins and Jason Frasor

This is where games may be won and lost. If a starter is pulled early, these are the guys the managers will go to ahead of the main cogs. Finnegan has been a pro ball player for less than a year after being drafted in 2014 and has pitched to a 4.15 ERA this postseason. Collins has appeared in just one game and got two outs. Frasor has thrown three shutout innings in four games, including earning a win.

Strickland is the Giants’ big question mark. He has given up four solo home runs to left-handed hitters, but righties are 1-10 with only a single. He seems like the closer of the future, but for now, he may be featured as a righty specialist. Machi owns a 7.74 ERA and has allowed two home runs himself. When he’s right, he’s a huge weapon. But he needs to get right soon.

Petit has been spectacular. In nine innings, he has not allowed a run and struck out ten. His outings have come in huge spots as well, in a time when the Giants needed a long reliever to settle things down. This is another close battle, but the slight edge goes to the Giants.