Predictions Made October 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm ET
Tigers in 6
Though neither team finished with the best regular in the regular season, there is no doubt that the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers are the two best teams in baseball in 2012. Both teams have this year's MVP with Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, while Buster Posey is the heart and the driving force in the Giants line up. Both teams have strong deep starting pitching and solid bullpens, though the performance of Jose Valverde is still a concern in Detroit. Both teams have great coaching staffs led by great Managers who are unquestioned geniuses during in game strategy. With Jim Leyland seeking to become just the third Manager to win World Series with teams in each league, while Bruce Bochy of the Giants is starting to write his own Hall of Fame resume.
The Giants lineup may be the closest thing they have to a weakness, as they have players that can go into slumps, though so far in the postseason the Giants have shown a resiliency battling back from elimination in both the NLDS and NLCS, and winning six times when a loss would have sent them into the off-season. The Giants often get contributions where you least expect, as players like Marco Scutaro who had 14 hits in the NLCS are near the bottom of players you would fear at the plate. The Giants don't have the power the Tigers have, but they play to their ballpark well and in the playoffs teams that can build runs often have more success than teams that rely too much on the long ball. The Tigers line up is one that relies heavily on the long ball with Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Delmon Young in the heart of the line up. However, with Austin Jackson at the top of the line up, the Tigers too can build a run if they have too. The Tigers do not have many easy outs in their line up and could be a nightmare for any pitching staff.
The line up as good as it is for the Tigers, is not there real strength, as they have one of the deepest starting pitching staffs in the game. Justin Verlander is the unquestioned ace of the staff, as he is in the running for a second straight Cy Young award. In the past Verlander has struggled under the spotlight, as he underwhelmed in last year's postseason and was pounded in the All-Star Game in July. However, in the ALDS and ALCS, Justin Verlander has been huge, winning Game 5 against the Oakland Athletics in dominate fashion and tying the Yankees up in knots in the ALCS. The Tigers also have big arms with Max Scherezer who finished second to Verlander in strike outs, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez all of whom have been on the money in the postseason. The Giants pitching has been hit or miss, as they have had some bad games when falling behind, but have also showed the ability to shut teams down led by Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain. However, by going seven games against the Cardinals, the Giants rotation is out of whack, while the Tigers can lineup things as they see fit. The key may be the freak Tim Lincecum a two time Cy Young winner who prior to this season was the Giants unquestioned ace. However, Lincecum had a very bad season, and was out of the rotation when the playoffs began. Tim Lincecum has pitched well so far in the playoffs and has been solid starting and coming out of the pen. If the Giants are to win the World Series, getting Lincecum to put his freak on will be a key, as they will need another starter to come up big, with Justin Verlander being potentially starting three games if the series goes seven games.
The bullpen is an advantage for the Giants, as Sergio Romo has filled the shoes and the beard for Brian Wilson, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April. Romo has been unhittable in the playoffs and will be key in shortening the game for the Giants. The Tigers have not had reliable closer as Jose Valverde has imploded twice and lost the trust of Manager Jim Leyland. The middle relief has not been bad for the Tigers led by Phil Coke who has seemed to inherit the closer job and Al Albuquerque, if Valverde can not get the job done it will be imperative that the Tigers middle relievers step it up.
This should be a close World Series, but when you put starting pitching and line up together the Tigers have a slight edge. In the end it will be a long series, but to me everything is set up for the Tigers who finished the regular season strong and have continued to roll in the playoffs becoming the first team to sweep the Yankees in a four game series since 1976. No matter how poorly the Yankees were hitting, sweeping them says something. The long layoff is the only worry I would have with the Tigers, but with Verlander going in Game 1 it will not be a big issue. I like that RF line for Prince Fielder at AT&T Park, and I have a gut feeling he will break out huge in the World Series with at least one splash down. The Tigers will win the World Series it will go six games, and the Prince will be crowned with a World Series MVP.
World Series MVP: Prince Fielder Tigers
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