Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Giants-Tigers World Series - Where is the Momentum?
The San Francisco Giants completed a three-games-to-one comeback Tuesday night over the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals with a 9-0 Game 7 win. The Detroit Tigers made quick work of the New York Yankees, sweeping them 4-0 and getting some crucial days off to get their starting pitching staff in order.
The Giants have a full head of steam going into the Fall Classic which starts on Wednesday night when they host the Tigers in San Fran, thanks to the National League's success in the All-Star Game. Led by the NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro -- who hit .500, averaging two hits a game for all seven games -- the Giants offense put up some big numbers on a proven Cardinals' pitching staff, scoring 15 runs in the last two games of the series.
The Tigers have arguably the most dominant starting pitching in the game, anchored by Justin Verlander. Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez combined with Verlander and the bullpen to hold the Bronx Bombers to just six runs in four games of the ALCS. And it doesn't hurt that they have the 3-4 combination of the Triple Crown winning Miguel Cabrera followed by Prince Fielder.
But regardless of what the league's newest bash brothers can do, the Tigers starters have a 1.02 ERA the entire postseason, taking a lot of pressure off of the bats. The Giants starters put up a 3.88 ERA and have been led by two unlikely heroes in Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong. Zito has been suspect since he got a seven-year, $126 million contract -- at the time, the largest ever for a pitcher -- but critics have said he earned his keep with the Game 5 win. Vogelsong is in just his first postseason of his young career, but has a 1.58 ERA in 29.1 innings.
Both teams played all five games in their respective Division Series, and San Francisco played an extra three in the Championship series. They faced elimination in six straight games, and have fought their way into the World Series. That's a scary start to look at, especially when those teams were the Cincinnati Reds and the Cardinals. The Tigers faced a struggling Yankees lineup who did not have the tenacity this Giants order will possess.
It's tough to call a favorite here, really. I would love for the Tigers to win, since they've come so close but have not won since 1984, and how can you bet against Verlander? Delmon Young won the ALCS MVP with four game-winning RBI. It's tough to get more clutch that than, and it doesn't hurt that he hits directly behind Cabrera and Fielder. The Giants have been a really impressive team, though, doing the little things well and not letting the pressure of the postseason get to them, even those young players. They won just two years ago, but are they poised to win another?
The San Francisco Giants will win in six of what could be the best baseball games in recent memory.