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2012 World Series Preview: Giants Over Tigers In 6

Evan Budrovich |
October 24, 2012 | 12:44 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Delmon Young earned ALCS MVP, not Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander or Prince Fielder. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Delmon Young earned ALCS MVP, not Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander or Prince Fielder. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
The World Series is finally upon us. The summer-long journey including a playoff atmosphere like no other this past October, has set the final two, the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers.

For all the talk of the Bronx bombers, Buck’s Orioles, Cardinals miracles and Nationals aces, the Tigers and the Giants found themselves in the World Series. 

Each team got to the World Series through a unique path, but both look balanced and are definitely the best in their respective leagues. 

The Giants played the maximum amount of games so far this postseason and are quite the battle-tested ball club. The Tigers are playing tremendously in all facets and have the pieces to make this series short and sweet for Detroit fans. 

To Get to this Point…

The Giants won six straight elimination games to climb back against the Reds and dethrone the defending champion Cardinals. Hitting has been the key for the Giants, who have started to turn around their malignant offense from the regular season.

Although the Giants don’t hit the long ball, they lead the league in most runs scored on infield singles, plus they hit well in clutch situations. Barry Zito will take the hill in Game 1 coming off his amazing 7.2  inning performance in Game 5 against the Cardinals. 

The Tigers, meanwhile, were waiting for what seemed an eternity to play in the Fall Classic. After grinding out an emotional series against the upstart A’s that included a blown save, ninth-inning magic and a strikeout performance for the ages, the Tigers found a way into the ALCS. 

Once the ALCS started, the Tigers never looked back, sweeping what was left of the Yankees by shutting down their offense, while riding the hot bat of ALCS MVP Delmon Young. 

Justin Verlander heads the best staff in baseball this postseason that includes two of the best strikeout men in the league. Not to mention Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister are quite the three-four combination for this team posting shutouts against the Yanks. 

With the series drawing near, let us summarize the five key points to the series and describe how each team can take home the World Series. 

Keys, Keys, Keys

Who’s Bullpen is Ready to Unleash?

The Tigers and Giants have drastically different bullpen situations at this moment. Whoever comes out to play will decide this series by closing out late leads. 

Sergio Romo is even more dominant (and possesses more facial hair) than in 2010. (CJ Martin/Wikimedia Commons)
Sergio Romo is even more dominant (and possesses more facial hair) than in 2010. (CJ Martin/Wikimedia Commons)
Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit and Alex Albuquerque have been horrendous by their standards this postseason. Phil Coke took over as the closer in the ALCS, which I do not expect to continue, but he was very successful especially against lefties. 

Manager Jim Leyland likely will mix and match at the end of games. Leyland might go longer with his starters because of their success in the ALCS when they threw 30.1 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest streak without allowing a run in postseason history. 

The Giants’ bullpen has been heavily relied upon this postseason due to the ineffectiveness of their starting pitching. Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Jose Mijares combined for zero earned runs in the ALCS and will be relied upon to repeat that performance. 

Advantage: Giants. That’s their strength.

Who Will Better Manage the Designated Hitter?

Whenever you talk World Series you always have to mention the lack of DH in four of the seven games. With home field decided by an all-star game, and practically the entire Giants team, the Tigers will play more games without the comfort of the DH.

Obviously, both teams are built differently to confront this issue, but they both have viable candidates to play the role. A key aspect to note is that AT&T has huge dimensions, similar to Comerica, which will make hiding a poor outfielder much more difficult.

For the Tigers, Delmon Young took up a bulk of the DH at-bats this postseason but will most likely move to left field for the road games. 

The Giants have been playing with a patchwork outfield since the loss of Melky Cabrera in August. Expect nothing to change in S.F. as the Giants look to find the hot man of the day to fill the DH role. 

If I were Bruce Bochy, I would seriously consider giving Aubrey Huff, with a well-documented history of success against Detroit, some swings on the road. Another option would be to play Hector Sanchez and sit Posey, but I don’t expect that to happen this late in the postseason.  

Advantage: Draw only because Giants have no real DH threat. 

What Random Player Will Blow the Brackets?

For all the love of 162 games and parity, the baseball purists would never accept the fact that no-name players are deciding postseason games at a consistent rate. 

Marco Scutaro has been a Giant for less than a season, but he has already recorded six multi-hit postseason games. (Royal Broil/Wikimedia Commons)
Marco Scutaro has been a Giant for less than a season, but he has already recorded six multi-hit postseason games. (Royal Broil/Wikimedia Commons)
Gregor Blanco, Marco Scutaro, Delmon Young and Johnny Peralta have been some of the biggest contributors to their teams. 

Expect nothing less in the World Series as the superstars, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Matt Cain and Buster Posey will most likely not decide the game-winning plays in this series. 

Their impacts will be huge, but expect a player like Austin Jackson, who has been playing outstandingly this postseason, after literally and figuratively, dropping the ball for Detroit in 2011. 

As for the Giants, expect Hunter Pence to feed off his confidence from Game 7 in the NLCS by continuing to deliver quirky-yet-effective hits for the Giants. 

Another player I have come to love for his intangibles is Marco Scutaro. Scutaro, who was the most effective deadline-deal acquisition by the Giants, is hitting .354 this postseason. Plus after taking that hard slide in Game 2, the Giants responded emotionally with gut-wrenching performances.  

If you love the unbelievable, then both these teams will provide plenty of fireworks and then some for your pleasure.

Contrast of Styles on the Mound 

Game 1 starters Verlander and Zito best exemplify the differences of game-planning on the mound for these teams.  

Zito throws 80 mph consistently and uses a steady dose of breaking balls and high fastballs with great location to deceive hitters. Verlander does not fool batters; he just overpowers them by throwing close to 100 mph consistently. 

Jim Leyland’s dream scenario is for Tigers starters to go seven innings while recording close to 10 strikeouts. The Tigers lead the league in strikeouts in both the regular season and postseason. They will continue to throw hard and pound the zone against the Giants. 

The Giants’ pitchers love to use deception and movement to throw hitters off balance. Ryan Vogelsong’s two-seam fastball is outstanding, Tim Lincecum is the freak, and Matt Cain when on, is one of the best at painting corners in the game. 

This match-up is a true baseball fan’s dream: power pitching versus situational pitching on the biggest stage. 

Match-up of the Senior Citizens 

In a day of sabermetrics and new-school baseball, two of the oldest managers in the game will square off for the title. 

In 2006 and 2011, Verlander's Tigers fell short. Can he finally win a ring? (Kw111786/Wikimedia Commons)
In 2006 and 2011, Verlander's Tigers fell short. Can he finally win a ring? (Kw111786/Wikimedia Commons)
Leyland, the tenured coach that is 67 years young, has been a part of the Tigers’ organization since his playing days as a catcher in 1963. Leyland received a bulk of the blame for the Tigers’ early struggles but found a way to lead his team through an incredible stretch in September to win the AL Central. 

Bruce Bochy has split time in San Diego and SF but is now on the verge of winning his second title in three seasons. The 57-year-old has one of the most complete teams in baseball that prides itself on toughness and girt; just like the old skipper himself throughout his playing days. 

On to the bigger picture, who will better manage his bullpen and make the right substitutions to win the big game? At this point, I would go with Bochy, but that is only because he has had to do it all postseason. 

Do not count out Leyland, though. He has a great understanding of his team and understands how to win ballgames as a former champion in 1997 with the Florida Marlins. 

The chess match of minds between Bochy and Leyland will be another interesting aspect to add to the already intriguing World Series match-up.

Series Prediction

In a grind-it-out series with numerous extra-inning thrillers, I see the San Francisco Giants riding their momentum from the NLCS to defeat the equally confident Detroit Tigers.

Plus, on the offensive side, the Giants will scrape together runs, much the way they have all season to find a way to win. The Tigers will not make this series easy, but I see the Giants winning their second title in three years. Giants in six.

Reach Staff Writer Evan Budrovich here or follow him on Twitter.



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