First Pitch: 8:07 EST 10/23/2012 TV: FOX
The 2012 World Series kicks off Wednesday evening, as the Detroit Tigers head to San Francisco to take on the Giants in Game 1.
The Tigers have been waiting since last Thursday to begin their World Series, after defeating the Yankees in a sweep 4-0. The Giants have had a much tougher time getting to the big dance, after falling down 3-0 to the Cardinals; they won four straight games and are now playing for a Championship. The Giants also overcame a 2-0 deficit in the Divisional Series, before rallying back and winning three straight against Cincinnati.
The Tigers and the Giants do not have much of a history. The two teams have just played each other 12 times in interleague play and have never met in the postseason. Both teams feel like they are playing their best baseball of the year, in what should be a highly competitive series.
The Tigers will go with All-Star Justin Verlander in Game 1, and the Giants are countering with southpaw Barry Zito.
Verlander has been his usual self this postseason, in three starts the All-Star has given up just two earned runs in just over 24 innings of work. He has recorded three wins and has not failed to go beyond the 7th inning in any of his starts, and has a postseason ERA of 0.74 and a batting average against of .122.
As we mentioned, these clubs haven’t seen it other too much – so the sample size against Verlander is somewhat limited. However, he has been dominating against the Giants he has faced extensively. ALCS MVP Marco Scutaro is 5 for 23 off Verlander good for a .217 average and also has 8 strikeouts. Aubrey Huff is 3 for 17 with a .176 average against Verlander. Angel Pagan has had some success in a relatively small sample, going 2 for 5 with a triple.
Zito has pitched two games in this postseason. An October 10th game in which he went 2.2 innings and gave up two earned runs and four walks but the Giants won the game 8-3. He also pitched an October 19th game against the Cardinals, throwing 7.2 innings of six hit ball in a 5-0 win for the Giants.
Zito has been terrific this postseason but hasn’t faced an offense as potent as Detroit’s. He also has decent numbers against the Tigers. He owns Prince Fielder and Omar Infante, holding Prince to just 3 hits in 18 at bats, and Infante to 2 hits in 20 at bats. Peralta also struggles against the lefty and is just 3 for 14 for a .214 batting average. Cabrera has two singles in at bats against Zito, and Delmon Young has the best numbers going 2 for 3 with a double.
While it’s hard to go against Verlander, who is certainly one of the best pitchers in baseball, if not the best – we like the odds. The Giants are clearly on a roll, and teams that are peaking seem to play extremely well in the playoffs. They’ve also got a good bullpen, something the Tigers lack and Zito has pitched quite well for himself this season and into the postseason. This one could easily be a dominant Tigers victory and a 10 K+ performance from Verlander, but at +151 we’ll take our chances. The Giants seem to play better with their backs against the wall, and even though this is Game 1, they’ll be chasing high 90s fastballs all night, in what will be a critical Game 1.
San Francisco Giants +151
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