The Kansas City Royals enter their first World Series in 29 years like a gambler who hasn't lost a bet in a month.
With all the confidence in the world, pushing the threshold of cockiness, the Royals will play in the World Series after becoming the first team in the history of baseball to win eight straight postseason games coming into a World Series.
Of course, the possibility of winning eight in a row before the World Series only became a reality two seasons ago when the MLB expanded to two wildcard winners in each league. But that shouldn't do anything to understate how hot, and potentially clueless, the Royals are.
That cluelessness is not a bad thing, however. Kansas City boasts a roster full of young players getting their first taste of playoff baseball and a manager who has never had this type of success at the big league level. Sure, there really isn't anybody on the roster who has felt the heartbreak of losing games this big (maybe save James Shields), but that naivety has the Royals playing the best baseball in the world right now. And that should strike some fear into the Giants and their fans.
But Kansas City's streak in the postseason has been a little different than most for another reason. And that's that the Royals have won just about every game the exact same way. KC has been able to dictate their type of baseball in every game they've played this postseason (with the exception of their opening win against Oakland).
The Royals feel as though they can grind out a lead in the early innings, tread water and then finish the game off in the late innings when their speed and flawless bullpen make them an incredibly tough matchup in a three-inning span of time. It's a game plan that every player has bought into and programed into their mind. And they haven't had any reason to think that anything else can even happen. This is the hurdle the Giants must overcome; and the only way it can happen is by winning a game in the series - preferably before Kansas City wins a few.
Edge in the bullpen
There's obviously the bullpen, which Kansas City probably holds a small edge in. And there's the speed, where the Royals have a clear checkmark. But the crazy momentum that Kansas City carries into this series (despite the time off) will be the biggest factor the Giants have to overcome. The only problem with relying on momentum is that it can end in far less time than it takes to build it up. Kansas City hopes that doesn't have to be the case, though.