Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The World Series Pick: The Detroit Verlanders

Look Into The Face Of Giant Fear
We're going to make this quick and dirty, because baseball stopped being very interesting to me weeks ago, and even a historic comeback by the Giants has not re-stoked my fire. Also, I'm just seeing this on really, really simplistic levels.

Here's what I wrote about why the Tigers were going to beat the A's in five, which was exactly what happened:

But they don't have (Justin) Verlander, and they don't have the absurd twosome of Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. It's been the most fun run in a generation, but it ends with Verlander.

In Game One of the World Series, Detroit will start the rested and best pitcher of his generation. The Giants will go with Barry Zito, who has certainly been well-supported and had good timing in shutting down the Cardinals a few days ago... but, um, Verlander and Cabrera. I don't feel like I need to go further than that.

In Game Two, Detroit will throw Doug Fister, who has been very solid all year and postseason. The Giants are undecided. Maybe they go with Ryan Vogelson on three days rest, or the toasted Madison Bumgarner (11.25 ERA in the postseason), or the far from dominant Tim Lincecum. So it's very possible that the Tigers, like the Reds and Cardinals before them, will take the big early lead on the Giants.

Once the series shifts to Detroit, the Giants get to let loose Matt Cain, which will give them their first starting pitcher matchup win... but Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer haven't been awful, either. And the Detroit home crowd, frankly, will take it up another level than the relatively satisfied denizens of St. Louis or the neophyte Reds. Also, the NL team rarely does well on the road in World Series games due to the lack of a DH that's used to the role.

Can the Giants win this? Of course. It's baseball; the hot team, or the team of destiny, wins fairly often. Even a clearly inferior team is going to win a third of the time, and the Detroit defense could be as giving as the Cardinals' were. If this becomes a bullpen battle, the Giants have the edge, and Bruce Bochy has been making all of the right moves for weeks now as the Giants' manager.

But at the end of the day, I'm going with the rested team with the better hitters, and the best starting pitcher of his generation, going for his first championship. If the Giants are going to win again, they are going to have to go through Verlander multiple times. I don't like their chances.

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