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World Series pits pair of wild-card teams

Published Oct. 17, 2014

Lorenzo Cain gearing up to run on Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval trying to launch long balls, Alex Gordon banging into walls chasing them. Madison Bumgarner and former Ray James Shields starting big games, with lights-out bullpens poised to close 'em.

The playoff-perfect Royals. The tried-and-tested Giants. A pair of wild cards, set to open Tuesday night in a World Series offering most everything for fans.

Great gloves, tremendous speed, ace pitching, clutch hitting and a bit of power. Probably room for second-guessing, too.

A surprising meeting? Maybe, although both teams had high expectations when they met in Surprise — that's in Arizona, where Hunter Pence homered as the Giants beat the Royals early in spring training.

By August, the Royals were rolling. They swept the visiting Giants in a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium, beating Bumgarner, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum, and stealing seven bases in the finale.

Now, they meet again.

The Royals, after going 8-0 in the AL playoffs, are back in the Series for the first time since beating the Cardinals in 1985. That's 29 years — the average age on the Royals' postseason roster is 28.

Kansas City will have had five days off before Game 1. In the past, long layoffs in October have often meant rust more than rest.

The Giants, trying to extend their every-other-year success after winning crowns in 2010 and 2012, also have a lengthy break after finishing off St. Louis on Thursday in Game 5 of the NLCS.

It will be the first time that a pair of wild cards have played in the Series since a seven-game thriller between the Angels and Giants in 2002.

This meeting pits clubs that don't share a ton of history. They've played 12 times since interleague play began, with Kansas City winning nine.

Ortiz in booth: Three-time World Series champion David Ortiz will be a Series analyst for Fox. The Red Sox slugger will be on the pregame and postgame shows for Games 1 and 2, appearing alongside Frank Thomas, Nick Swisher and Gabe Kapler on the set.

Rangers hire Banister: The Rangers hired Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as manager. The other finalists were interim manager Tim Bogar and Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash. Banister, 50, has been Pittsburgh's bench coach for the past four years and in the Pirates organization for 29 seasons. Banister was drafted in the 25th round by the Pirates in 1986. The catcher played one MLB game.

Bosch pleads guilty: The former owner of a Coral Gables anti-aging clinic pleaded guilty to charges of illegally providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes including high-profile players, notably Yankees star Alex Rodriguez. Anthony Bosch, former owner of the Biogenesis of America clinic, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute testosterone. Bosch, 51, faces a maximum 10-year sentence but is likely to get far less because of his cooperation.

D'backs: New manager Chip Hale's staff will include Mark Grace, assistant hitting coach; Andy Green, third base coach; Mike Harkey, pitching coach; Glenn Sherlock, bench coach; Mel Stottlemyre Jr., bullpen coach; and Turner Ward, hitting coach.