The World Series match up is finally set as the Tigers will be heading to San Francisco to face the 2010 World Series Champions, the Giants. Much like the Tigers, the Giants had a year filled with hope and disappointment but, same as the Tigers, ended up in the Fall Classic anyway.
The Giants best hitter the first part of the year was Melky Cabrera, who had turned into a wonder after leaving New York and Atlanta. He has seen a career resurgence in Kansas City that continued in San Francisco. Everyone now knows why. He was suspended 50 games for using performance enhancing drugs and the Giants have, for all intents and purposes, parted ways with him.
In addition to the Cabrera the Giants also had to deal with their biggest rival, the Dodgers, trading for everything available to make a run at them, and their two time Cy Young winning pitcher, Tim Lincecum, pitching like Mitch from “Dazed and Confused” instead of just looking like him, as he normally does.
Despite these issues and Pablo Sandoval gaining weight by the play, the Giants were able to win 94 games, holding off the Dodgers and Diamondbacks and were able to stave off elimination 6 times this post season to make the Series.
However, in doing so, they have decimated their starting staff and they have quite a few questions surrounding who they will be pitching during the series.
In Game 1, the Tigers will throw the ace, Justin Verlander, who has been fantastic this post season. In Game 2, the Tigers will send out Doug Fister, who has been fantastic this post season. In Game 3, Anibal Sanchez will take the mound, who has been fantastic this post season. And the Game 4 starter will be Max Scherzer, who has been fantastic this post season.
The Giants rotation will not look like this. Game 1 will probably be Barry Zito, who was left off the 2010 World Series roster and has made only 1 start this post season. A Game 5 elimination game that he won against the Cardinals. Zito had something of a resurgent year for the Giants in 2012, if you consider a 4.15 ERA in the NL good. But when compared to his previous years, it was much improved.
The Game 2 starter will either be Lincecum, who has been pitching out of the bull pen due to his terrible, down season, Madison Bumgarner, who has been the worst Giants pitcher this post season or their best pitcher this post season, Ryan Vogelsong, on just 3 days rest.
Lincecum has been better at home this season, so starting him, fully rested in Game 2 may be a better idea for the Giants, however, he was crushed in his two interleague starts this season, by Texas and Oakland. If Vogelsong does start, then expect Lincecum to start game 4 in Detroit.
The Game 3 starter will be the current ace of the Giants, Matt Cain, on 4 days rest, in Detroit. Cain pitched a perfect game earlier this season and has been perfectly fine this post season. Not as great as Vogelsong has been but he has pitched pretty well.
So, with the Tigers rotation set for days and everyone rested, the Giants have a lot of things to sort out before Game 1 on Wednesday night and will need to figure them out quickly. If the Tigers can win one of the two games in San Francisco before coming back to Detroit for games 3,4 and 5, where they are 4-0 this post season, they will be in a good position to win the World Series.
Hopefully the days off before the Series this season won’t affect them at all, unlike 2006, when Leyland claims the break hurt his team.