The Detroit Tigers' improbable sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series should make them the favorite in the upcoming World Series no matter if they play the St. Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants.
After being stifled at the plate by Oakland Athletic and Yankee pitching until Thursday's Game 4, the Tiger bats have finally come alive, and their big three hitters of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young are now putting runs on the board.
Yes, the bullpen is the Tigers' biggest weakness, and yes, both National League teams are very patient at the plate and can out-wait a parked car.
The Tigers now have nearly a week to work with Jose Valverde on whatever mechanical issues he might be having, and can try him again as the closer if they wish.
They have also had great luck using Phil Coke out of the pen for a couple of innings an outing.
The big key for the Tigers going into the Series is their starters.
We know how good Justin Verlander is, and now we have all seen how good the rest of that rotation is with Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer.
Sure, both the Cardinals and Giants have quality pitchers—with St. Louis getting probably a slight edge in that department unless Tim Lincecum continues to impress despite a subpar regular season—but you will be hard-pressed to find a better staff of starters than what you have seen this week with the Tigers.
Detroit played solid defense and picked the Yankee pitchers apart at the plate when given the opportunity. It mauled CC Sabathia after the Yankee ace looked so brilliant against the Orioles.
The Tigers have also gotten production from their entire lineup, which was crucial against the Athletics in the ALDS as the big guns struggled.
For a team that had so much expected of it coming into the season and struggled just to win their division, the Tigers are peaking at the right time and should be considered the favorite no matter where they open the World Series—even with six days off.