World Series Preview: Detroit Tigers Will Be Too Much For Giants To Handle

On paper, the 2012 World Series appears to be the proverbial mismatch.

Best pitcher. Best hitter. Best sidekick.

All reside on the American League champion Detroit Tigers roster. It almost seems unfair.

Except for one nagging, gnawing factor – the X factor.

Whatever X is no one can really put a finger on, but the National League champion San Francisco Giants certainly have it. Down 2-0 in the best-of-five NLDS, they won the next three games against the Cincinnati Reds. On the road.

Down 3-1 in the best-of-seven NLCS, they ripped off three straight wins in dominating fashion, almost as if to say, “you gotta be kidding us” to the St. Louis Cardinals, authors of their own improbable “comeback kids” tale in their prior series against Washington.

Now they get Detroit, and the aforementioned “bests” in Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

They should be overmatched. They should be out of rallies. They should be cooked.

But will they?

Anyone going against the Giants at this point, after they just posted a 6-0 mark in elimination games the last two weeks, would have to be crazy.

OK, so call yours truly crazy. Despite everything they’ve achieved, all that they’ve proven, the Giants just don’t stack up.

Especially when you see how things have lined up.

Verlander, last year’s AL Cy Young winner, has taken his regular-season brilliance into the postseason this year, and even stepped it up a notch. In three starts, he’s 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA. He goes in Game 1 tonight … against San Fran lefty Barry Zito, who acquitted himself very well in a Game 5 victory against St. Louis in the NLCS, but has been nothing short of the poster boy for ridiculous contracts during pretty much the rest of his six-year career with the Giants after bolting across the Bay from Oakland.

San Fran, conversely, doesn’t get to its ace, Matt Cain, fresh off a series-clinching win against the Cards, until Game 4 of the series. Not only that, he’ll be going head-to-head with the game’s top strikeout artist, Max Scherzer. While Verlander led baseball with 239 Ks, Scherzer had just 8 fewer in 50 less innings. The hard-throwing righty hasn’t exactly been far behind his better-known Detroit hurler this postseason either in terms of dominance, standing at 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts.

Factor in Cabrera, baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, and Fielder, a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy who hit .313 during the regular season, and San Fran is facing an uphill battle.

Especially if it falls behind 1-0 in the series while opening up at home.

Unless, of course, Marco Scutaro can shock the baseball world for another week, Pablo Sandoval continues to swing a solid – and productive – bat, and likely NL MVP Buster Posey finally comes alive this postseason for an extended stretch this series.

Or if Zito outduels Verlander to starts things off, just scrap all the above.

Just don’t count on it. Or another “up from the dead” tale if they fall behind in this series by two or three games.

Best pitcher. Best hitter. Best sidekick.

At this point, Detroit just has too much.