World Series Preview: Giants v.s. Tigers
As the rain poured down in San Francisco, the Giants and their fans were celebrating throughout the night. After coming back down from 3-1 in the series, the Giants will be facing the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. The Giants will have the home-field advantage as the NL Squad (whose starting pitcher was Matt Cain) defeated the Al Squad (whose starting pitcher was Justin Verlander) in the All-Star Game. This is the first time that the Giants (19 W.S. appearances) and the Tigers (11 W.S. appearances) will be playing each other in the Fall Classic.
The Giants enter the World Series with tons of momentum. The Giants have been an incredible 6-0 in elimination games this year, and have been able to count on both their hitting and pitching in both series to advance to the World Series (which I correctly predicted they would all the way in July). The Tigers have had plenty of rest as they waited for the outcome of the NLCS. They swept the Yankees in the ALCS, and have been really good this postseason, though their shaky bullpen will need to improve if they want to come home with the trophy.
- Infield – The Giants regular infield includes Posey behind the plate, Belt at 1st, Scutaro at 2nd, Crawford at SS, and Sandoval at 3rd. Sanchez (backup C), Arias, Crawford, and Huff will be available off the bench. The Tigers will have Avila behind the plate, Fielder at 1st, Infante at 2nd, Peralta at SS, and Cabrera at 3rd. Off the bench will be Laird, and Worth.
- Edge: TIGERS – The Tigers have plenty of power coming from the corners of the infield with Fielder, and triple crown winner Cabrera, as well as other players on the infield who are plenty capable of both hitting for power and contact. Their defense could be a little iffy, however it has not proved to be a big problem for them this postseason. The Giants have the bats of Posey and Sandoval and the hot bat of Scutaro, however the Tigers power potential will be a big factor in this series.
- Outfield – The Giants will carry four outfielders in this series. They will have Blanco, Pagan, and Pence roaming the outfield with Nady on the bench. The Tigers who use Delmon Young as their DH, will carry another 4 outfielders including Jackson, Dirks, with Garcia and Berry off the bench.
- Edge: TIGERS – The Tigers have had some strong hitting performances this postseason from their outfielders, and their defense is pretty good too. They will lose a bit on defense when Young is in the outfield, though he is certainly an average defensive fielder. The Giants outfielders, besides Hunter Pence who has struggled this postseason, aren’t known for their bats. They are good defensive outfielders, but they will needed to contribute more than defense, for the Giants to win the World Series.
- Starting Pitching – The Giants rotation will start with Zito pitching game 1, followed by Bumgarner, and then likely Vogelsong, and Cain. The Tigers will counter with Verlander on the mound for game 1, followed by Sanchez, Fister, and Scherzer.
- Edge: TIGERS – Not often will the Giants lose the battle of better rotations, but the Tigers are capable of doing just that. The pitching of the Tigers has been incredible this postseason, led by Verlander who is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and a 0.62 WHIP. Not to be outdone, the combo of Scherzer, Sanchez, and Fister have combined for 37.2 IP and have given up just 5 ER with 41 K’s. The Giants have struggled a bit from the mound, especially Madison Bumgarner who owns a 0-2 record with a 11.25 ERA. The usually reliable Matt Cain is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA. Both Vogelsong and Zito have had an excellent postseason, and the Giants will need that to continue, as well as Cain and Bumgarner to pitch better than they have this postseason, to have a shot at winning the Fall Classic.
- Bullpen – The Giants bullpen will have Lincecum available, as well as Mota, Lopez, Kontos, Mijares, Casilla, Affeldt and Romo closing it out. The Tigers will have Alburquerque, Benoit, Porcello, Smyly, and Dotel, with either Valverde or Coke shutting the door.
- Edge: GIANTS – The Tigers have struggled this postseason closing the door with the struggles of Jose Valverde. There is no official closer on the team now, as Manager Jim Leyland will decide based on the situation, which pitcher he prefers to use. The Giants have had strong performances from most of their bullpen this postseason, especially both Affeldt and Romo who have just given up 1 ER, in the 16 IP they have both combined to pitch. If the Giants can give the bullpen a lead to hold in the final 2 innings, the Giants relievers should be able to hold the lead.
- Manager – Giants Manager – Bruce Bochy Tigers Manager – Jim Leyland
- Edge: EVEN – Both Bochy and Leyland have been in the league long enough to know what faces them. They have handled their situations well to get to this point of the year.
Tigers in 6
World Series MVP: Miguel Cabrera
What do you guys think? Will the Giants be able to score some runs off the Tigers staff? Will the Tigers blow the lead late in the game? Who is coming home to a parade, and who will dream about it? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments, or tweet me @YoniPollak .