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World Series Preview
Posted By Greg Quintero On Oct 24 2012 @ 12:07 am In MLB | No Comments
The climax to the 2012 Major League Baseball season begins Wednesday night in San Francisco, as the hometown Giants host the Detroit Tigers in game one of the World Series. They from from different directions following the League Championship Series. The Tigers swept an aging New York Yankees squad, while the Giants went the distance in a second consecutive playoff series, ousting the defending Champions St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. Both sides share similarities as well, each rode a second half wave of success en route to claiming their respective league pennant’s, and the story of both teams season’s can be summed up with the same surname — Cabrera.
The Tigers Miguel Cabrera had an MVP caliber season, and claimed the first American League Triple Crown since 1967. He was the rudder to the Tigers first AL pennant since 2006, and will be key to the teams fortune in the Fall Classic. The Giants Melky Cabrera set a blistering offensive pace in the first half of the season, including taking home All-Star MVP honors for the National League. However soon after these accolades Cabrera would be disgraced in the wake of a PED scandal that netted him a 50 game ban to end the season. Contrary to speculation the Giants didn’t fold up shop after losing their offensive leader, instead they steamrolled past the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West division and return to the World Series for the second time in three seasons. Will Miguel Cabrera end his historic season by bringing the first World Series to Detroit in 28 years? Or will the Giants, a team of “cockroaches” as coined by their General Manager Brian Sabean for their tenacity, reach the pinnacle of the baseball world again?
On paper the Tigers are possibly the best team in baseball, and should prove it this series. Justin Verlander followed up a Cy Young, and MVP campaign in 2011 with another stellar 2012 season, and is drawing comparisons to a modern day Sandy Koufax. Verlander is on the front end of a rotation featuring Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Max Scherzer that completely shutdown the Yankees bats in the four game ALCS sweep. The rotation will be essential against the Giants, as the Tigers bullpen has wilted under the lights of post season play. Eccentric closer Jose Valverde lost his closers role to Phil Coke following implosions against the Oakland A’s and Yankees in the playoffs. Valverde will likely be given the chance to redeem himself in the World Series, albeit on a short leash from manager Jim Leyland.
The Giants pitching this post season has been effective, despite erratic organization. Former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum found himself in the relief against the Cincinnati Reds, and the rotation has been turned upside down due to each series going the distance. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has given the ball in game one to lefty Barry Zito. In game five on the NLCS Zito rekindled memories of his Cy Young form, and will likely need to channel that magic again to best Verlander. The rest of the rotation will be a hodgepodge of Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong, with one likely being left to relief duty. The odd man out from the rotation will join a battled tested relief corps that will likely be used heavily again this series.
Offensively the Tigers have perhaps the most potent middle of the order in baseball, specifically the duo of Cabrera and first baseman Prince Fielder. The Tigers use the long ball as their bread and butter, a trait that could cause problems in the heavy air of San Francisco at AT&T Park. In contrast, The Giants style of small ball should play to their advantage this series. The Giants rely on spraying hits across the field, ground balls, and broken bat hits to manufacture their runs, a plus when facing the superb starting rotation of the Tigers. With such contrasting offensive styles, the team able to effectively execute their style should be on their way to a World Series crown.
After 162 regular season games and three post season rounds (Wild card play-in included) a World Series champion will soon be crowned. With the teams finally in place, the only question remaining is — who wins? Major League Baseball has enjoyed incredible drama and excitement the last two post seasons, and this series should follow suit. For the Tigers to be successful they will need their rotation so silence the pesky bats of the Giants, and their offensive should provide enough support to do the rest. The Giants trademark in their 2010 World Series win was winning ugly, a trait they will need to employ against the Tigers. To be successful they will need to manufacture enough runs off the stingy Verlander and company, while hoping their patch work rotation holds up for another series. My heart tells me the Giants are a team of destiny and have overcome too many obsticles this post season to not finish the job. My mind tells me that pitching wins championships, and the Tigers have too much of it to lose this series. Ill take the Tigers in six.
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