World Series Preview: What to Watch For

The MLB 2012 World Series featuring the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants will hold game one tonight (October 23) at 8pm eastern time.  While the Tigers return to the World Series for the first time since their defeat in 2006, the Giants look to win their second championship in the last three seasons.

Rest vs. Momentum
While the Tigers relaxed after a 4 game sweep of the New York Yankees, the Giants closed out the St. Louis Cardinals in a thrilling come from behind series that finished 3-2. The Giants had substantially fallen behind in both the National League Division Series and Championship series, but were somehow able to fight back and win a staggering 6 elimination games this postseason.  It’ll be interesting to see if the momentum they have built in the Championship series will be enough to push them through the World Series, or if a refreshed Tigers team will take advantage of their opponents fatigue and push them into another hole early.  The Tigers already have a huge pitching advantage.  They’ll use reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander in game one, while the Giant’s ace Matt Cain, who pitched in game seven last Monday, rests.  Time will tell if the fatigue from back-to-back extended series’ will hurt the Giants.

All-Star Game 2.0
In baseball, home field advantage is granted to the league that wins that season’s all-star game.  The National league won due in large part to the success of many Giants players.  Starting pitcher Matt Cain didn’t give up a run in the win, while Giants Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera drove in 5 runs.

On the other hand, Justin Verlander had an uncharacteristically bad start for the American league, giving up 5 runs in one inning of work.  Miguel Cabrera was hitless in the game.  Although months removed from the game, Verlander will try to get his revenge on the San Francesco batters in game one.

Against 2 high-powered offenses, Detroit’s starting pitching has only given up 7 earned runs this point season.  Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer were the strike out leaders of the league, and will be a dominant one-two punch to start the series.

For San Francisco, the key will be keeping games close.  Ryan Vogelsong has been great in the post season, and Matt Cain threw a gem in game seven.  To add to that, Tim Lincecum has shown signs of his former self and could make a spot start later in the series, giving them excellent depth in case something unforeseen takes place.  Based on recent history, that’s a good possibility.

Two of the Best Bats in the Majors

This season Miguel Cabrera became the first player in the last 45 years to win Baseball’s Triple Crown, leading the league with 44 home runs, 139 runs batted in, and a .330 batting average.  He has been underperforming in the postseason so far, but looks to still be a major offensive component for the Tigers.  Don’t be surprised if he catches fire and hits a few bombs over the next week.  He has the capacity to impact the game every time he’s at the plate.

One year removed from a devastating leg injury, Florida State alumni Buster Posey had an MVP caliber 2012 season.  Not only did he lead the Giants in RBI and Home runs, he led the majors with a .336 average and became the unquestioned leader of the franchise.  Not bad for a catcher in his third year as a pro.
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