When two first-place teams face each other, the drama is inherent. When those teams are cross-state rivals and are playing the most meaningful series between them since one (the Royals) beat the other (the Cardinals) in the World Series 30 years before, well, the drama rises to a new level.
Here are some numbers from STATS LLC that help put the series in perspective from a number of angles.
• Almost any way you measure it, the Cardinals have enjoyed greater success — much, much greater success — than the Royals since Kansas City beat St. Louis to capture its only World Series championship in 1985.
Comparisons of Cardinals and Royals from 1986-2014
World Series appearances
World Series titles
• While the Cardinals have won almost two-thirds of the interleague contests played in Kansas City (30 wins against 16 losses, the best record for any interleague matchup since 1997), the Royals have excelled in interleague action over the last two seasons. Their 17-5 interleague record (regular season only) is the best in baseball in 2014-15.
• The Royals have the best batting average in baseball with runners in scoring position this season (.311), while Cardinals pitchers are the best in baseball at preventing opponents from hitting with RISP (.197).
• Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday has reached base in all 38 games he has played this season. The longest streak to start a season doing just that since 1991 belongs to retired Yankees star Derek Jeter, who reached base in his first 53 games of the 1999 season.