World Series Preview: #Tigers vs. #SFGiants

Will the powerful Tigers be the patty-cake champions in 2012?

The two number three seeds in the Postseason have championed their respective leagues in their own fashion: one used its pitching to outlast a story everybody wanted to see and then swept an imploded opponent, another used elimination games to win six of their seven games on their way to the World Series. Each team does this on the backs of multiple players, and the decisions of their managers can shift the balance of the game, and possibly of the series itself. The drama and excitement begins on Wednesday in San Francisco, and the audience will get to continue to have the opportunity to critique each word spitted by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. All games are scheduled for 5:00PM PST. Games 2-4 starters for the Giants have not been announced yet, so those listed are my guesses.

Wednesday, Game 1: RHP Justin Verlander vs. LHP Barry Zito

One sentence summary: JV has owned this Postseason, and Good Zito just showed up against the Cardinals, so this has the potential to be the 20+ run game we all expect it to be.

Thursday, Game 2: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner

One sentence summary: Fister has provided 13 K’s in 13.1 IP, but allowed 10 baserunners in his last outing even though the Yankees were unable to cash in, and if Madison Bumgarner can show he’s cashed in on some extra time off in fixing his delivery, it could make for a very happy flight to Detroit.

Saturday, Game 3: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez

One sentence summary: In May, Anibal Sanchez was involved in a 14-7 loss to the Giants while he was with Miami, surrendering 7 hits and striking out 7, while Vogelsong has just come off a career performance of striking out nine.

Sunday, Game 4: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Max Scherzer

One sentence summary: 18 K’s in 11 IP for Scherzer is a tribute to his high strikeout ratio while only seeing five hits go by him in his two starts, while Matt Cain will get one day’s extra rest to put it together and hopefully get lucky against the Tigers like he did with the Cardinals by not getting the mistake pitches crushed.

Monday, Game 5*: LHP Barry Zito vs. RHP Justin Verlander

Wednesday, October 31st, Game 6*: RHP Doug Fister vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner

Thursday, November 1st, Game 7*: RHP Anibal Sanchez vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

*-if necessary

A Possible Difference in Performance

While the Postseason is full of small sample sizes, it’s still interesting to take a look at how players have fared thus far. Take a look at how the Tigers have done in the LCS, and in the Postseason overall:

Pretty good overall hitting, getting on base at a reasonably good tick, and slugged the stuffing out of the Yankees in four games. Now, the Giants:

Getting on base nearly as much as the Tigers have over a few more games, and who’d have thunk it that Pablo Sandoval is slugging the best out of all the starters remaining in the Fall Classic? Really amazing how the Tigers manhandled the Yankees and how the Giants just scraped by the Cardinals, who were rumored to be immortal.

Needless to say, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence need to wake the f up because if you’re relying on Belt, Blanco, and Crawford to drive in your runs, then expect that elimination games streak to be challenged once again. I can only wonder how many more runs this team would have if those two were even hitting at the rate Belt and Blanco have for the postseason.

Power, Production and Speed from the Motor City

Everyone has heard about Miguel Cabrera and his famed Triple Crown. The 44 HR within that and the .417 wOBA for the season are pretty scary, but the 28 double plays he grounded into are certainly exciting. Prince Fielder had another 30 HR season with exactly that round number, a .398 wOBA, and grounded into 19 double plays, which is the same number that Buster Posey grounded into. Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta also grounded into 20 double plays a piece. However, these two do have double digit HR (Jhonny 13 and Delmon 18), as did Omar Infante with 12, and leadoff man Austin Jackson with 16, and AJ is 3rd on the team with a wOBA of .371. The burners on this club are Quintin Berry (21 SB), Omar Infante (17), and Austin Jackson (12), so these guys can add an extra element to the game if/when they get on base.

Who’s the Designated Hitter for the Giants?

There’s a part of me that is hoping that this Hector Sanchez-Barry Zito/Tim Lincecum experiment really takes a back seat in this series, but we’ve had enough messing around with a free-swinging switcher and watching Belt be benche. However, with the DH, Bochy can have his cake and eat it too. My heart says Bochy and company wise up and keep Hector from catching, but my head says if Lincecum is given a start, we will see Posey DH a game. I like the idea of Pablo DH-ing and Joaquin Arias starting at 3B, maybe even to break up the line of LHH the Giants have going on in that 6-7-8 spot. Hector Sanchez will be an option for a DH, as will Aubrey Huff, but I’m thinking Pablo sees the DH the most of the three possible games he can be there.

Prediction Time: Sticking With What Works

Will this happen again in 2012?

If you’re a reader who’s stopped by often, you know how this part works. I pick the Giants to win a series, and tell you how they do it. It’s not going to be any different here.

Game 1: Giants win (Crazy World Series is crazy)

Game 2: Tigers win (Starting pitching not slid as Tigers continue to hit)

Game 3: Giants win (Vogelsong lights up Detroit)

Game 4: Tigers win (Tigers take advantage of Giants mistakes)

Game 5: Giants win (Giants beat Verlander twice, Kate Upton asks me if I’m available)

Game 6: Giants win (Giants come back against Detroit’s bullpen to seal their 2nd title in 3 years)

I hope this or any variation of the Giants winning in 4-7 games happens. Boy I’d like to attend a parade.

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