The Tigers and Giants both added valuable pieces at the trade deadline, but the biggest difference in the World Series is the Tigers have ace Justin Verlander rested and ready to go for Game 1. Ron Opher previews the World Series.
I could get all flowery and write at length about the AL champion Tigers and the NL champion Giants, but I’ll resist the temptation and try to be brief.
The Giants are this season’s Cardinals — to some degree — in that you can’t count them out. They’ve been in triple match point twice and survived both times. They are a talented team, even with an iffy Tim Lincecum and no Brian Wilson. Their in-season moves to get Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro are reminiscent of 2010′s under-the-radar pick-ups of Cody Ross and Javier Lopez.
The Giants earned their way to the 2012 World Series.
The Tigers were my pick to win the World Series last year. I felt they had the best pitcher in all of baseball in Justin Verlander and that penciling him in for 2 wins – leaving only 2 out of 5 needed to win a series – was a formidable advantage.
It looks like a was a year ahead of my time in making that pick.
Verlander dropped off in last year’s postseason, but is now flashing his Cy Young/MVP form from 2011 at the right time.
I made too much of the Tigers slumbering through 2012 and playing in a weak division – especially compared with the AL East and AL West, each of which featured 3 very good teams.
Now that the closer problem is in the Tigers’ rear-view mirror, Verlander, Cabrera, Fielder and a bunch of marginal major-leaguers could possibly win this in 7. With Doug Fister, Sanchez and Max Scherzer and a pretty good bullpen taking on an extra inning of work on non-Verlander days, the Tigers look poised to keep Matt Cain from getting to the mound twice in the World Series.
The Giants’ needing Cain in NLCS Game 7 is a major disadvantage for them in the World Series, especially if they lose to Verlander twice.
Prediction: Tigers in 5