One team needed two daunting comebacks and the other should be refreshed from six days of rest as the San Francisco Giants host the Detroit Tigers for Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
Detroit last played Oct. 18 when they completed their four-game sweep of the New York Yankees. The Tigers held the regular season’s second highest-scoring offense to six total runs in the ALCS to advance to their second World Series since 2006.
San Francisco had a much longer and harder road to the Fall Classic, overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the St. Louis Cardinals for their second comeback in this postseason.
Second baseman Marcos Scutaro led the Giants' offense in the NLCS, notching a blistering .500 average, with six runs, 14 hits, and four RBIs for a 1.140 OPS. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval led the team with six RBIs and two homeruns.
In their clinching Game 4, it was the bottom of the Tigers lineup of Johnny Peralta and Delmon Young that eclipsed the squad's more decorated and heralded bats. Young led the Detroit with six RBIs and tied Peralta with two homeruns. Peralta also hit .389 for the series, with seven hits and three runs.
Detroit will find out if the six day lay-off has any effect on their bats against the Giants’ Barry Zito, who put together the best postseason start of his career in Game 5 of the NLCS with seven scoreless innings and seven strikeouts.
Perhaps the best pitcher in these playoffs, Detroit’s Justin Verlander starts Game 1 after winning each of his three postseason starts with a 0.74 ERA, allowing just 10 hits and his two earned runs were off home runs. The reigning AL MVP hopes to redeem his two lossess in the 2006 World Series, when he gave up seven earned on twelve hits.
With starting pitchers in their respective zones, this game could be decided by the bullpens, giving San Francisco a distinct advantage.
San Francisco reliever Jeremy Affeldt appeared in five of the NLCS games, with no earned runs and four strikeouts, and Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo appeared in four games apiece also allowing no runs.
The Tigers' Phil Coke has been manager Jim Leyland's go-to reliever in these playoffs, pitching 5 2/3 innings over four games in the ALCS with two saves, four strikeouts and no earned runs. Regular season closer Jose Valverde gave up four runs in 2/3 innings for a 54.00 ERA, and may have pitched his way out of the closer spot.
The first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by FOX.
Prediction: Verlander is rested and primed for the biggest start of his career., and the Giants have not faced a pitcher like him in these playoffs. If Verlander pitches another complete game, San Francisco will be in familiar terroritory, down 1-0.
Predicted Score: Detroit 5, San Francisco 3