"They're a team that runs a lot," said baseball writer Dan Fost. "Most managers are scared to make an out on the bases, that's kind of a cardinal rule, [but the Royals] showed no fear, and were stealing second base, third base with impunity. I think that's going to be a scary thing for the Giants."
Jon Miller agrees that the aggressive base running will be a challenge for the Giants' pitchers and Buster Posey -- who has been behind the plate for every game of the Giants' postseason.
"Buster Posey surely has a strong arm, but it starts with the pitcher," said Miller, noting that base runners have been more succesful against Tim Hudson than the other starting pitchers.
2. Heroics Aside, the Royals Are Deeper Than the Giants
Michael Morse came off the bench to tie the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. And we all know what Travis Ishikawa did in the bottom of the ninth. So it's natural to think the Giants have an advantage in their reserves. Not necessarily so, said Killion, who noted the "Giants have a shorter bench then they've had in past World Series."
When asked to size up Kansas City's bench, Ratto said three things give Kansas City an edge: "designated base-stealer" Terrance Gore, "Giants-killer" Josh Willingham and Jarrod Dyson, who gives the Royals "the best defensive outfield in baseball" when he comes in for Nori Aoki.
3. Power Pitching vs. Artful Pitching
Ratto points to the Royals' bullpen as another advantage for Kansas City. Set-up men Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera and closer Greg Holland all bring it -- they feature fastballs in the high 90s and nasty breaking stuff.
"The Giants are an odd team in that they don't have any power pitchers except for Hunter Strickland," said Ratto, "whereas the Royals have three upper 90s fastball guys. And that's a huge advantage for them because you can't hit that many guys that hard that often." The Giants, on the other hand, pitch with "art and guile."
4. Don't Expect Mistakes ... or an Easy Win
The Royals "basically make you play perfect baseball to beat 'em and that's been particularly true in the last month, when they've only lost four games," said Ratto. "They're that fast, they don't make mistakes in the field, and when they get that kind of starting pitching that gets them to that bullpen, they are a very tough nut to crack."
5. Manager Bruce Bochy Is a Bit of a Genius
It's a good thing for the Giants that difficult cases are Bruce Bochy's specialty.