KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Giants made the first significant adjustment for Game 7 of the World Series, replacing Travis Ishikawa with Juan Perez as their starting left fielder, sacrificing a strong left-handed bat for a capable defensive player in anticipation of a low-scoring game in which every run will be crucial.
Perez had served as a defensive replacement for five of the series’ first six games, starting only in Game 4 against Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. Ishikawa provides a more potent offensive threat and sent the Giants to the World Series with a walk-off home run in Game 5 of the NLCS.
Ishikawa is a career first baseman – he stands in left field, but he’s no outfielder. While struggling to chase down hits to the gaps and corners, Ishikawa has gone 3-for-13 with no extra-base hits in the World Series.
Perez has appeared in every game, often replacing Ishikawa when the Giants take the lead in the middle or late innings. In 107 plate appearances in the regular season, Perez hit .170 with a putrid .494 OPS. But in the World Series he is 3-for-9 and smashed a two-run double off the center field wall against untouchable reliever Wade Davis in Game 5.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy chose Perez for his glove, prioritizing run prevention on a night when both teams will unload their bullpens to maximum effect. Both offenses should struggle as managers remove pitchers who show even a hint of struggle. Starters Jeremy Guthrie and Tim Hudson are unlikely to last long, and Game 1 starters Madison Bumgarner and James Shields will be available.
“Hooks will be quick,” Royals Manager Ned Yost said. “When you start sniffing something, you got to make a move.”
The specter of Bumgarner, who owns a career 0.29 ERA in the World Series, hovers over Game 7. But Yost was not deterred.
“Bumgarner is a great starting pitcher,” Yost said. “We’ll see what kind of reliever he is.”
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