2012 World Series Preview

The two tickets to paradise are finally accounted for after the San Francisco Giants’ 9-0 rout of the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals. They celebrated their Game 7 clincher on a rain-soaked AT&T Park Monday evening.

Their foe, the Detroit Tigers, have been waiting since Thursday evening to find out where they would be traveling when the World Series begins Wednesday. It will begin in San Francisco thanks to the National League’s 8-0 victory over the American League in Kansas City during the 83rd All-Star game.

Ironically, the Giants have home-field advantage because of Melky Cabrera, who was named MVP of the Summer Classic but was suspended later in the season for performance-enhancing drugs and was never added to the roster when his 50-game suspension expired at the opening of the NLCS.

There is a lot of talent from both teams entering this championship. And how each team reached the Fall Classic makes this one of the more enjoyable series to watch in recent history.

Not only do we have the two starters from the All-Star game in this series – who will sadly not go head-to-head as Justin Verlander will start Game 1 while Matt Cain pitched Monday – but two other All-Stars from Detroit and San Francisco as well.

After losing Victor Martinez to a knee injury in last year’s offseason, the Tigers quickly responded by signing a big check – $214-million – with Prince Fielder and before the season even started they were claiming themselves champions of baseball.

Like the Miami Heat of the NBA, the Tigers struggled for a majority of the season, finding themselves off to a 26-32 start in early June as they spent most of the summer looking up to the Chicago White Sox until a September collapse allowed Detroit to claim the division in the final 10 days of the season.

After a near scare with the Oakland Athletics in the divisional series after Jose Valverde’s blown save in Game 4, the Tigers swept the overpaid New York Yankees offense that batted a major league low .188 in the postseason.

Now Fielder, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and defending AL MVP and AL Cy Young award winner Verlander must tango with the never-say-die Giants who have faced six elimination games in this year’s playoffs and have come out on top behind superb pitching.

In their final three games of the NLCS, the Giants outscored the Cardinals 20-1 as Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong kept the season alive for Cain to pitch a second straight clincher this postseason.

But the Tigers starters aren’t anything to look past either, especially with Verlander’s 3-0 record and 0.74 ERA with 25 strikeouts. He, along with Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, will make this quite the postseason to remember.

At the beginning I thought St. Louis matched up better with the Tigers, but now after watching them blank the Cardinals for three straight en-route to an NL Pennant, the Giants seem like they’ll put up a good fight for baseball’s glory.

They are very similar to one another in regards to their pitching with the bullpen edge obviously in San Francisco’s favor. But unless Zito and Vogelsong have repeat performances from the NLCS, the Giants might find themselves in a hole heading to Detroit.

Their offenses are very similar in that they don’t need to blow their opponent out of the water to win; they can have great success in the low-scoring one- or two-run affairs.

It is hard to pick against the Giants, who have twice come back to win three straight and move on to the next round. Why would it be any different of a story if they fall 1-3 in this series? They also won it two years ago against a pretty good offense and pitching staff in the Texas Rangers in 2010.

Through six playoff series up to this point it’s had all the drama one could ask for. A bad call in Atlanta, to Raul Ibanez hitting the pinch-hit game-tying home run and later a walk-off home run prevented the Yankees from an elimination game.

Every series aside from Detroit’s sweep going the distant makes this last one worth the one’s attention. If it went the full seven games or a sweep by either team I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed the way everything has gone. I feel that San Francisco is that hot team everyone talks about winning the World Series and will not surrender regardless of the deficit. So I have to go with the Detroit Tigers as my favorite and initial pick, as I just feel like they will take care of business.

Tigers in 6

World Series Schedule                

Game One: Detroit at San Francisco (Wed. 7:00 p.m. CST)

Game Two: Detroit at San Francisco (Thu. 7:00 p.m. CST)

Game Three: San Francisco at Detroit (Sat. 7:00 p.m. CST)

Game Four: San Francisco at Detroit (Sun. 7:00 p.m. CST)

*Game Five: San Francisco at Detroit (Mon. 7:00 p.m. CST)

*Game Six: Detroit at San Francisco (Wed. 7:00 p.m. CST)

*Game Seven: Detroit at San Francisco (Thu. 7:00 p.m. CST)

*denotes if necessary. All games aired on FOX

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