Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 World Series Preview

Greetings! You knew I was coming back for the World Series, right?! Anyway, there's a giant NBA preview on the way and some activity to come, but let's get it going with a semi-quick World Series preview...


  • Giants - This is unquestionably the weakness for the Giants. The full, unedited list of guys that scare you in the Giants lineup is this: Buster Posey. That's it! Marco Scutaro was out of his mind in the NLCS, and guys like Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval are better hitters than they've shown, but with a lineup that features Pagan, Belt, Blanco, and Crawford? Color me unimpressed.
  • Tigers - They have the best 2 hitters in the series in Miggy Cabrera (who's probably the best hitter on Earth) and Prince Fielder. Those guys are terrifying to anyone on the mound. In addition, Austin Jackson has been very good in the playoffs and had a fantastic 2012 that had him on some MVP ballots deep into the season. The peripheral guys like Infante, Peralta, and Dirks aren't terribly impressive, but I think Detroit has 3 of the best 4 hitters in the series and the rest of the lineup is pretty even with the bottom of the Giants lineup. One thing to note is the DH situation. Will Detroit actually try to play Delmon Young in left field? He's a disaster out there, but there lineup is actually worse without him, so that's something to keep an eye on.
  • Advantage - Tigers
  • Giants - Zito, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Cain - This is a really, really interesting thing. When the Giants won the World Series a couple of years ago, their starting pitching carried them the entire way with Lincecum being dominant and Cain being Cain. This season? Big time Timmy Jim (copyrighted) isn't even starting, Barry Zito is coming off a shut-out performance, Vogelsong has pitched like Greg Maddux for two weeks, and Bumgarner is a mess all of the sudden. Huh? At any rate, I don't trust Zito to repeat his performance, Vogelsong has shown the propensity to be hot/cold this year, and Cain is the only guy I fully trust. Also, it sets up poorly for Detroit as Zito has to face Verlander twice. Eesh.
  • Tigers - Verlander, Fister, Sanchez, Scherzer - Verlander gets to go twice against Zito. That should be two wins unless things go awry. The rest of the situation? I'd actually take Fister/Sanchez/Scherzer over the Giants trio, so this is a big, big edge for the Tigers with how it sets up.
  • Advantage - Tigers
  • Giants - There are strengths (Pagan, Posey, Crawford) and there are weaknesses (Sandoval), but overall, the Giants are pretty middle-of-the-road/solid defensively. That should be enough... because...
  • Tigers - The Tigers were the worst fielding team in the American League this year by basically every measure. Miggy Cabrera is an abomination at 3rd base (not his fault, but still), Prince Fielder is bad at 1st, Peralta is bad at short, and if they actually try to play Delmon Young in left? It becomes comical. Let's just stop.
  • Advantage - Giants
  • Giants - Here are the guys I trust: Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt. That's a pretty impressive list, especially when you consider that their "closer" Brian Wilson is out for the year. A strength.
  • Tigers - Same exercise in the guys I trust for Detroit: Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque. That's the list! Jose Valverde has been absolutely atrocious in the playoffs and Joaquin Benoit is hit-and-miss. Sigh.
  • Advantage - Giants
  • Well, this is going to be a good series I think. Detroit is the overwhelming favorite simply because they have the bigger names (Cabrera, Verlander, Fielder), the better lineup (flashiest unit), and two starts from Verlander against Zito. Sometimes the obvious pick is the wrong pick. In this case, it's the right pick. The recipe for the Giants is to match the Tigers for 6-7 innings a game and make it a bullpen match-up, but I think Verlander will be electric in both starts, and that puts San Fran in a bad spot. I'll take the Tigers in 6. 

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