And then there were two. I know the entire central time zone will be offended by this (but really, when was the last time anyone gave a shit about the central time zone), but The Machine sure is glad that St. Louis didn’t make it to the World Series. Nothing against the birds either, Mike Matheny and crew had a hell of season all things considered (they did lose a pretty good first baseman to free agency if I’m not mistaken). But the real reason we were pulling for the Giants is that they match-up better against the Tigers. While no one walking planet earth can come close to matching Verlander pitch-for-pitch, the Giants boast a deep and talented rotation of their own. So let’s dissect each team, and determine who is going to win this thing…..
Detroit Tigers, 88-74 AL Central Champs
ALDS Series: Beat Oakland (3-2) in five games, outscoring them 17-11.
ALCS Series: Beat New York (4-0) in four games, outscoring them 19-6. (No, that’s not a typo!)
General Vibe: The Tigers made quick work of the Yankees and got themselves a few extra days of rest. This can actually have an adverse effect on baseball players, who are creatures of habit and routine. Still, a veteran manager like Leyland should be able to keep this bunch focused and hungry. And they have to feel pretty damn good about their chances considering they have the best pitcher and best hitter in baseball.
San Francisco Giants, 94-68 NL West Champs
NLDS Series: Beat Cincinnati (3-2) in five games, getting outscored 18-22.
NLCS Series: Beat St. Louis (4-3) in seven games, outscoring them 35-19.
General Vibe: Down 3 games to 1 against the Cardinals this group battled back to win the pennant in improbable fashion. This team is built for post season play, returning a majority of their young and talented pitching staff that helped them win the 2010 WS.
Detroit – As mentioned, Justin Verlander is otherworldly; filthy; sick. A perennial 15+ Win, sub 3 ERA, 225 K, Cy Young (and MVP) caliber pitcher. Verlander is slated to take the ball in Game 1 and Game 5; advantage Tigers!
The rest of the Tigers rotation is filled guys whom may, or may not, give you a solid outing, including: Max Scherzer, Doug Fister (possibly the greatest name in baseball) and Anibal Sanchez (another name that has urban dictionary written all over it). These guys have great postseason numbers this year, but those figures are slightly inflated thanks to a Yankee team that couldn’t buy a hit (irony at its finest!).
As good as Verlander has been, Jose Valverde – Papa Malo – has been equally bad. How bad you ask? Try 7 earned runs in 2.1 post season innings pitched bad! That ball Ibanez hit still hasn’t landed! If this gas can enters the game with anything less than a 5 run lead look out! That chain smoker Leyland isn’t a fool; you’ll see him squeeze as much juice out of his starters as possible, play the match-ups out of the pen, and hand the ball to Phil Coke/ Al Alburquerque to close the door. At this point can you really trust your entire season on Jose Valverde?!
San Francisco – Is there a stable of more talented, young pitchers in the bigs these days? Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Lincecum. Unfortunately for the Giants, due to their seven game tilt with the Cardinals, none of these guys are pitching Game 1. Instead they turn to, wait for it, Barry Zito. Yes, that Barry Zito. How he is still getting guys out (let alone winning games) is beyond our comprehension. Zito is bad. Not quite Valverde bad, but still not a guy you can trust. But perhaps that plays into the Giants hand. Considering the roll Verlander is on, chances are slim even with your best pitcher that you beat him. So, chalk up Game 1 as an ‘L’ and give yourself the pitching edge in games 2, 3 and 4. I’m not sure punting a WS game is ever sound advice, but it may be their best shot to stretch this thing to seven games and give themselves a chance.
Detroit – There is a lot to love about this lineup, and it all starts with Miggy Cabrera. The guy not only lead his team in HRs, AVG, and RBIs, he lead the entire league in those categories! Not since Affirmed in 1978 has there been a Triple Crown Winner! Now, as we all know, Miggy’s success is directly related to how incredibly fucked up he can get on the eve of this series, and our MoTown sources have indicated that the Patron has been flowing since 7 PM EST tonight, so except big things from our favorite horse in this race! Add in Cecil Fielders boy, Delmon Young, Infante,Jackson and Peralta and you’ve got a dangerous lineup. Oh, and because it has the chance to cost them a game in this series it is worth mentioning that during the regular season this team was one of the worst defensively. They seem to have tightened the reigns a bit in the postseason, but this could be their Achilles heel.
San Francisco – Don’t be surprised if the best hitter in this series turns out to be Buster Posey. This kid can flat out rake! Also, I love Sandoval recent approach at the plate; he seems to be locked in this postseason. Mix in scrappy hitters like Pence, Pagan and Scutaro and you have a team that always seems to be scoring timely runs.
We’re in for a real treat with this series! There is a lot to love about both teams. (We loathe the fact that the Giants have home field advantage because Bud Selig is the biggest blow hard in sports and Melky “let me drop the fake website excuse on them” Cabrera was juiced out of his mind during the All Star. Oh and while on the topic of baseball shit that drives us nuts, could someone please explain why the hell Game 7 is schedule to take place in NOVEMBER! This is baseball. BASEBALL. You play baseball in the SUMMER. This series should have been over 2 weeks ago). Anyways, give us the Tigers in six.