AT&T PARK — Tucked away in the southeast corner of the United States, you’ll find Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.
The trio are the first three starting pitchers the Kansas City Royals will face in the World Series, and they share a relationship most country folk can understand.
Bumgarner (2-1, 1.42 ERA) will take the hill for Game 1 Tuesday in Kansas City opposite “Big Game” James Shields (1-0, 5.63 ERA).
You might think the Giants ace, who just took home the NLCS MVP, would live in a penthouse somewhere in Pacific Heights.
But Bumgarner and his wife Ali have been crashing on a couch in Hudson’s basement, and Hudson’s been happy to have him:
“His lease ran out so I’m not going to let him stay on the street. … I let them do their thing. They’re young. They like to sleep late. I’m old. I wake up at daylight. That’s what us old people do.”
Game 2 will be Peavy (1-0, 1.86 ERA) against Yordano Ventura (0-0, 4.85 ERA).
Superstition supersedes logic this deep in the season, and Peavy assured SFBay he’ll don Hudson’s pants, something he’s done every start since his arrival to San Francisco:
“Of course. It’s too late. We’re not changing anything at this point in time.”
The Giants never issued Peavy his own pair when he came over in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. So his neighbor, Hudson, let him wear his. No one seems to mind, as Peavy’s gone 7-4 with a 2.15 ERA since he arrived in the Bay, including the postseason.
Peavy has enjoyed the chemistry with his southern kinfolk:
“We’ve had a great relationship. These guys are similar to me on and off the field. When you’re from the same geographical area, you have a lot in common. When you play the same position, you’re going to be close by default. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know these guys, being teammates with them and also building friendships that will last a lifetime.”
No. 3 in the rotation is Hudson (0-0, 3.29 ERA). He’ll get the nod when the Giants come back to San Francisco Friday.
This is the deepest Hudson’s ever been in the postseason. He’s been in six divisional series with the A’s and Atlanta Braves, but never further.
The alliance he’s forged with Bumgarner and Peavy is something that separates the 2014 Giants from his other short-lived postseason teams:
“We’re all country boys at heart. We play a kids game for a living that we love. It’s easy to get a long with people that you have a lot of things in common with. These guys on each side of me, we’re kind of one in the same.”
This World Series pits two Wild Card teams against each other for just the second time in Major League history. The only other was when the Giants lost to the Anaheim Angels in 2002.
The Royals haven’t lost a game this postseason, going 8-0.
The adage “speed kills” applies heavily to the young Kansas City club. They set a Major League record for steals in a single postseason game with seven in the Wild Card against the A’s. They have 13 total throughout the first three rounds.
Peavy said the Royals’ run game is a point of emphasis going into the series:
“The number one way to combat speed is to not let it get onto first base. … What people don’t realize is when speed gets on the bases and you have to give so much of your attention to not letting them advance on the base paths, it really creates problems when you’re running through the at-bats you’re going to have. … At the end of the day, they’re going to get on at some point and we’re going to have to do a good job of holding runners.”
“You have to kind of let it go and realize there’s still a job to do with this next upcoming series.”
Game 1 will take place Tuesday in Kansas City on FOX. Game time is 5 p.m.