Its here. Its finally here, Detroit. I, myself, wasn’t sure when it would happen again. But its here. The Tigers have a chance to redeem themselves from 2006, when an extremely disappointing 5-game series loss to the Cardinals left everyone with a bad taste in their mouths. But six years later, under the same manager Jim Leyland, its the Giants that stand in the way of this generation’s World Series Championship. However, how exactly is this series going to play out? A breakdown in each part of the team will be more telling.
GAME 1 STARTERS: Justin Verlander vs Barry Zito
Based on initial look, it might seem like the Tigers have the overwhelming advantage in Game 1… and you would be right! Zito, while rejuvenated and reinventing himself as a Frank Tanana-type pitcher, is exactly the pitcher San Francisco would like to matchup with Verlander in Game 1. However, the Tigers hitters can hit a pitcher like Zito (Kansas City’s Bruce Chen) in a crucial game like this. A few or even one run might be all that Verlander will need to take an important Game 1.
GAME 2 STARTERS: Doug Fister vs Madison Bumgarner
This is an intriguing matchup solely because I never thought I’d see either of these guys square off in a game, much less the World Series. Fister should be able to thrive at AT&T Park as the dimensions are much like Comerica Park, pitcher friendly. But how does he matchup against Bumgarner? Well, luckily for the Tigers, Bumgarner hasn’t been pitching very well during the postseason and I think this is the weakest of their four starter that the Tigers have to worry about. Bumgarner throws from the left side like Zito but at a side-arm angle. Either way, Fister should be better than Bumgarner and it should be a Tigers victory.
GAME 3 STARTERS: Anibal Sanchez vs Ryan Vogelsong
This is yet another intriguing matchup as Sanchez and Vogelsong look to be mirror images-of each other. Vogelsong pitched his way into an All-Star appearance this year and was a great complement to Matt Cain. However, Sanchez proved his worth with a dominant performance in Game 2 against the Yankees. Both pitchers have the hot hand and look equal. I think it’ll be a matter of who will blink first as neither team has the advantage in Game 3.
GAME 4 STARTERS: Max Scherzer vs Matt Cain
This matchup reminds me of last round’s Game 4 in which Scherzer out performed the Yankees’ CC Sabathia. It looked to be in New York’s favor but the Tigers clinched. I think this game could set up in the Tigers favor as Cain should have the slight advantage but with the Comerica Park crowd as spirited as they should be it could go either way.
San Francisco has banded together after losing closer Brian Wilson for the season. Closer Sergio Romo has really embraced the closer’s role and the rest of the bullpen (Mijares, Affedlt, Lopez) has remained stable. On the Tigers’ side of things, Phil Coke looks to be the de facto closer with Jose Valverde still trying to reinvent himself. Jim Leyland will go with a matchup scheme in the 9th but even Detroit fans aren’t completely sold on the bullpen.
ADVANTAGE: SAN FRANCISCO
Both lineups have struggled this postseason but have an unexpected player leading the way (Delmon Young and Marco Scutaro). San Francisco and Detroit both have a stellar leadoff man in Angel Pagan and Austin Jackson, who can get on, steal bases, and score. However, the lineup advantage tends to favor the Tigers as Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence are no match for Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and the hot bat of Delmon Young. A Triple Crown winner, the man who hit behind him, and the ALCS MVP are can provide instant offense and get Detroit a lead.
MANAGER: Jim Leyland vs Bruce Bochy
Both managers have storied pasts especially in the World Series. Leyland won it all with Florida in 1997 and won a pennant with the Tigers in 2006. Comparatively, Bochy won a NL Pennant with San Diego in 1998 and a World Series Championship with San Francisco in 2010. In fact, Bochy was a backup catcher for the Padres during their 1984 World Series matchup with the Tigers. However, if you had to pick one… you couldn’t. Both managers have done excellently with their respective teams. It’ll be interesting to see the chess match by both managers, especially in a National League park.
Overall, this is going to be a great Series. Both teams have fought hard to get here. The Tigers had to overtake the White Sox in the last week of September and had to overcome the upstart A’s as well as take down the veteran Yankees. The Giants had to face a gritty Cincinnati team and win three straight elimination games on the road, then win another three elimination games to make it to this point. Both teams feature excellent pitching, tough outs in the lineup, and veteran managers looking to add to their resume. I also think its ironic that in an All-Star Game dominated by Giants, Justin Verlander’s performance in the Midsummer Classic put the Tigers in this position. But those are the cards that have been dealt and I really don’t think its going to make a bit of difference for the Tigers. I think if the Tigers can continue to pitch like they have previously, its going to be a World Championship parade in Detroit afterward.
PREDICTION: TIGERS IN 5