MLB: World Series Preview
The St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers are set for game 1 of the 2012 World Series Wednesday night in San Francisco. Wait, San Francisco? Yes that’s right the San Francisco Giants will be hosting the Tigers Wednesday night after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Cardinals in the NLCS.
This series will feature great pitching of course with the Tiger’s Justin Verlander taking the ball in game 1 opposite the Giants re-rejuvenated left hander Barry Zito. Verlander is the reigning American League Cy Young winner, while Zito is also a former Cy Young winner back in 2002.
The Tigers are led offensively by AL Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera and first baseman Prince Fielder who hit 30 home runs this season. The Giants are led of course by NL MVP candidate, catcher Buster Posey. After missing a good portion of 2011 due to injury, Posey came back and showed why he was one of not only the best young players in baseball, but one of the best players period. It also showed how huge of a loss he was in 2011 to the Giants.
On paper the Tigers look like the sexy pick with all their star power and having the best pitcher on the planet right now in Verlander, but the Giants pitching as a whole is extremely deep, with an outstanding starting rotation and bullpen. The Giants have all the magic going their way as well, as mentioned earlier, not only coming back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NLCS, but coming back from a 2-0 deficit against the Cinncinati Reds, to win their NLDS in 5 games.
Will the Giants pitching staff be able to shut down, or at least limit the middle of the Tigers order? I believe so. They won’t completely shut down Cabrera, Fielder and the rest of the Tigers strong lineup including the red-hot Delmon Young , but they will limit them enough to stay in games. If these are low scoring games that are tied, or the Giants have a lead to turn over to their incredible bullpen, they will be in great shape. The Giants have some nice offensive weapons of their own of course with Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro, who was named MVP of the NLCS, after he had 14 hits. If these guys can keep up their strong play, mixed in with the clubs strong pitching staff, things will be looking awfully good for the Giants.
In order for the Tigers to win, Verlander will have to continue to be lights out and their bullpen, especially closer Jose Valverde needs to get back on track. These should be close games and the team with the better bullpen very well may come out on top. If the Tigers offense can figure out Giant pitching, then the Tigers will obviously be in great shape. Again as good as the Tigers middle of the order is, great pitching does take out great hitting and if the Giants pitching is on as it has been, then it will be an extremely tough battle for the Tigers.
As much as this pains me to say, as I am a life long Los Angeles Dodgers fan, the Giants will win their 2nd World Series title in the last three years, defeating the Tigers in 7 games winning in front of their home crowd. Of course if you remember back to July 10th of this year, you will see that Verlander pitched 1 inning, allowing 5 earned runs in route to an 8-0 loss. This wasn’t a Tigers loss of course. This was the MLB All Star game, thus enabling the National League and in this case of course, the Giants, to have home field advantage. You can also take note that suspended Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera and third baseman Pablo Sandoval had 5 RBI’s between them in that game. Interesting how everything plays out of course.