World Series 2012 Predictions: Teams Most Capable of Pitching Their Way to Title

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 06:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the sixth inning during Game One of the American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park on October 6, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 3-1.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Pitching wins championships.

If you proscribe to that old-school philosophy, a few teams in this year's Major League Baseball playoffs will pique your interest more than others.

It doesn't just take a solid starting rotation; shortening the game with a quality bullpen is important as well.

Let's take a look at three teams who are capable of pitching their way to a title.


Washington Nationals

Stephen Strasburg isn't in the Nationals' pitching rotation, but that doesn't mean this squad doesn't have a healthy stable of arms.

Washington had the league's No. 2 team ERA (3.33) during the regular season, and it picked up right where it left off against St. Louis in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Gio Gonzalez walked seven batters in five innings in his first postseason start, but Washington still kept the Cardinals to just two runs.

Washington has allowed seven runs to St. Louis so far in Game 2, but that doesn't mean this team won't bounce back. They're young, but Gonzalez's dynamic left arm, Jordan Zimmerman's quality stuff, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler make for a strong starting rotation.

Add in Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Sean Burnett on the back-end, and this squad can pitch with anyone.


Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are known for their pop at the plate, leaving their arms in the shadows at times, but this team can throw.

So far, their postseason ERA is 1.00. San Francisco is hitting just .143, due in large part to Bronson Arroyo's dazzling performance in Sunday night's Game 2.

Cincinnati's pitchers are solid from top to bottom. Even if Johnny Cueto can't return in the NLDS, Mat Latos, Arroyo and company can keep this team afloat for the time being.

On top of that, they have the league's most daunting bullpen.

Finding a weakness with the Reds is difficult. With their arms, and gluttony of bats to go with them, good luck to anyone playing this team in the coming weeks.

Detroit Tigers

Justin Verlander's seven-inning, 11-strikeout performance in Game 1 of the Tigers' ALDS matchup with Oakland stated the obvious, but that doesn't mean the rest of this rotation is shabby.

Detroit was ninth in team ERA during the regular season, and they've received quality starts from Verlander and Doug Fister so far this postseason. Lacking impact arms in the bullpen could be an issue, but it hasn't reared its ugly head just yet.

Verlander's presence on the bump will give Detroit a chance to win at least one game in every series, leaving its fate up to guys like Fister and Anibal Sanchez. Both are hot and cold, but are capable of giving a major performance.

The Tigers have allowed five runs in two games to Oakland, but they've also struck out 23 Athletics batters.

Power arms can take you a long way, giving Detroit a chance to make a very deep run this postseason.