Everyone counted the Giants out when they fell behind the Reds 0-2 in the NLDS. Everyone counted the Giants out when they fell behind the Cardinals 3-1 and most everyone considered Detroit to be the favorite in the World Series. Everyone except the Giants that is.
The San Francisco Giants defied the odds yet again Saturday night by winning their franchise-record sixth consecutive postseason game and by shutting out the Tigers 2-0 for the second time in a row, this time in Detroit.
“I’ll say this: The club is playing well,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in an ESPN.com recap.
Understatement of the year?
The Giants are now on the brink of their second World Series Championship in three years, as they hold a commanding 3-0 lead over the Tigers and their best pitcher, Matt Cain, is on deck for game four tonight. You could say it’s over, but the Giants know all too well, that teams are never dead until they are dead.
“Well, it’s a good situation, but there’s nothing been done yet,” Bochy said. “It’s a number, just like I said about two. Now it’s three. But that’s not the series.”
San Fran’s starter Ryan Vogelsong brought his best stuff to Detroit for game three, going five and two-thirds innings while holding the Tigers scoreless, scattering five hits. In what has become commonplace with the Giants this postseason, relievers Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo finished off the night and the Tigers, holding the toothless cats hitless through the final three innings.
After being shutout for two straight games (the Tigers were only shutout twice all season), the fix is an obvious, but not easy one for Detroit against these Giants pitchers. Score runs. The Tigers’ big sluggers, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are a combined three for 19 in the series, but with only one more chance, they need to turn it on right now.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox are the only team to comeback from a 3-0 postseason series deficit to win, but of course, the Tigers are more than aware of the odds and of history.
“Well, you don’t really have to tell them anything,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “They can count. They’re big guys, they know what the situation is.”
They also know who they are up against in game four in Matt Cain, who pitched a perfect game earlier this season and who has been absolutely dominant in the postseason. He also has experience closing out opponents, as he did so in game seven on the NLCS against St. Louis.
Detroit’s season now rides on the arm of Max Scherzer, who won his last postseason outing against the Yankees in the ALCS. He was reliable during the regular season with a 16-7 record and a 3.74 ERA, but with the way the Tigers are hitting, or lack thereof, they may need him to be perfect.
I liked the Tigers coming into the series, but with the massive amount of snowballing momentum that is rolling towards a World Series title for the Giants, it’s hard to bet against them here in game four. It looks and feels like they will close it out tonight and Matt Cain getting the ball certainly doesn’t hurt their chances. Take the Giants to win game four and sweep away Detroit to win the 2012 World Series.