Since completing an impressive sweep of the New York Yankees in the ALCS, the Detroit Tigers have been waiting to see who they would face in the World Series. The Giants prevailed in the NLCS, but extended the series to seven games, creating a longer wait for Detroit, which in turn might have created some rust. However, the Tigers feel they are ready to go.
“I loved it because it means we’re in the World Series,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila in an ESPN.com article. “Someone asked me that question after we won and I was like, ‘Would you rather if we had lost some of those games?’ It doesn’t really matter to me. We did everything we could to stay mentally sharp.”
The Tigers say they are prepared, but we know the Giants are after witnessing their incredible comebacks against both Cincinnati and St. Louis. However, the question posed to them right now, is are they more worn out from playing more games?
“You have to throw it all away because it could work in either team’s favor,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “We’ve been playing every day, so guys might be a little more tired, whereas they’ve got more rest. Then again, we’ve been playing, so we’ve got our timing, where they might not.”
One thing is for sure with the Tigers. When Justin Verlander takes the mound, they have the best chance to win and that is the case tonight in game one. Not only was Verlander the go-to man in the rotation during the regular season, winning 17 games with a 2.64 ERA, but he has been Mr. Dependable in October as well, winning all three of his starts. In 24 and a third innings of work, he’s allowed just two earned runs and has struck out 25 batters.
The Giants will go with veteran lefty, Barry Zito in game one. Zito is coming off a career-defining performance in NLCS game five, a game in which he shutout the Cardinals through seven and two-thirds innings and struck out six. The win kept the Giants’ hopes alive when they were down 3-1 and gave them a chance to be in the position they are, NL pennant winners and World Series bound.
The Tigers certainly have the edge in the pitching matchup, but they are on the road against a team that is finding a groove offensively. Things will definitely be more challenging than they might have expected. In six of their seven postseason wins, the Giants have scored five runs or more and ranked 12th in the Major Leagues in scoring during the regular season. When the San Fran bats heat up, they can do plenty of damage.
But then again Verlander has proven he can shut down the best hitting teams in the league. The mighty Yankees couldn’t touch him, so what’s to suggest the Giants might? I do think San Francisco has a realistic chance to win the series, but not game one. Take Detroit to cover the -1.5 runline behind another strong outing from Verlander.