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2012 World Series: Complete Breakdown for Tigers vs. Giants

Josh BerenterCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2012

2012 World Series: Complete Breakdown for Tigers vs. Giants

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    With their 9-0 victory in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, the San Francisco Giants now move on to face the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series.

    The Giants, who defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, became the seventh MLB team ever to overcome a three games to one deficit in a LCS and now shift their attention to Game 1 against the Tigers in San Francisco on Wednesday night.

    The Tigers, who will open the series on the West Coast because the NL won this year's All-Star Game, didn't play the Giants this season. But, excluding the 2006 World Series, the Tigers have dominated interleague play the last few seasons.

    The Giants have won six games when facing elimination this postseason and are riding a lot of momentum coming into the World Series, but the Tigers are coming off a sweep of the New York Yankees and have only lost two games in the playoffs this year.

    Here is the complete breakdown, as well as my prediction for the Tigers vs. Giants in the 2012 World Series:

Starting Pitching

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    Projected pitching matchups

    (Regular Season stats listed first) 

    Game 1 : Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA; 3-0, 0.74 ERA) vs. Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15 ERA; 1-0, 1.74 ERA)

    Game 2: Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45 ERA; 0-0, 1.35 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (14-9 3.37 ERA;  2-0, 1.42 ERA)

    Game 3: Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 ERA; 1-1, 1.35 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA; 2-2, 3.52 ERA)

    Game 4: Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA; 1-0, 0.82 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18 ERA; 1-1, 3.46 ERA)

     

    The Tigers' starting rotation has combined for one of the best performances in MLB postseason history.

    In nine playoff games, Detroit's four starters combined to allow just seven earned runs in 62 innings, which equates to an MLB-best 1.02 ERA.

    Detroit's starters held Oakland to five earned runs in 34 2/3 innings and somehow managed to get better against New York, holding the Yankees to two earned runs in 27 1/3 innings for a 0.66 ERA.

    The Giants have gone with a five-man rotation so far in the playoffs and their depth has been a major strength on the mound.

    San Francisco will most likely go with a four-man rotation in the World Series, which will probably see Tim Lincecum get the nod over Madison Bumgarner for the last spot.

    Giants ace Matt Cain was forced to pitch in Game 7 of the NLCS, which relegates him to the mound in Game 3 of the World Series, forcing Barry Zito to start Game 1 against Verlander and the Tigers.

    Who do you take in that matchup?

    Advantage: Tigers

Lineups and Top Hitters

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    Projected Starting Lineups

    Tigers

    1. Austin Jackson, CF

    2. Andy Dirks, RF

    3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B

    4. Prince Fielder, 1B

    5. Delmon Young, LF

    6. Alex Avila, C

    7. Jhonny Peralta, SS

    8. Omar Infante, 2B

    9. Justin Verlander, P

     

    Giants

    1. Angel Pagan, CF

    2. Marco Scutaro, 2B

    3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

    4. Buster Posey, C

    5. Hunter Pence, RF

    6. Brandon Belt, 1B

    7. Gregor Blanco, LF

    8. Brandon Crawford, SS

    9. Barry Zito, P

     

    Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro tore the cover off the ball in the NLCS, going 14-for-28 with four RBI's in seven games against the Cardinals.

    Scutaro, who hit .306 during the regular season with seven homers and 74 RBI's, tied an all-time postseason series record with his 14 hits in a LCS, and was named NLCS MVP.

    As a team, the Giants have scored 4.42 runs per game this postseason and averaged .234 with a .304 on-base percentage. The Giants hit 31 extra-base hits in 12 postseason games, including 10 home runs.

    The Tigers scored four runs per game in their first nine playoff contests this year. Detroit's averaged .271 as a team with a .317 OBP and 24 extra-base hits, including eight homers.

    The Tigers have gotten huge contributions from unlikely role players so far this postseason and have succeeded without much production from superstars Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

    Cabrera and Fielder have combined to hit .243 in the playoffs (18-for-74) with just two home runs and eight RBI's between the two.

    Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval are the only Giants who have seen regular at-bats in the postseason with an average over .300 in the playoffs, and below those two, the next highest Giants starters have only hit .222.

    Advantage: Tigers

Who's Hot

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    Both teams ride a lot of momentum into the World Series.

    After sweeping the New York Yankees, the Tigers come into Game 1 of the World Series, winners of five consecutive games, but the Giants won three games in a row with their backs against the wall to close out the Cardinals and have won all six games this postseason when facing elimination.

    The Giants will only have one off-day before welcoming the Tigers to AT&T Park on Wednesday, while the Tigers will have had a season-long layoff of five days before Game 1.

    The Giants' adrenaline from winning three straight must-win games, mixed with the freshness of a regular schedule, gives them the edge over the Tigers in the rust and momentum category.

    For whatever that's worth.

    Advantage: Giants

Bullpen

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    Because the Tigers' starting pitching has been so good this postseason, the bullpen has seldom been used, but with the exception of the highly-publicized struggles of Jose Valverde, Detroit's bullpen has been outstanding in the playoffs.

    Phil Coke filled the unenviable role of Tigers closer and has been perfect this postseason, throwing seven-and-a-third shutout innings, giving up only four hits and striking out five batters.

    The Tigers' other reserves have also been perfect in the 2012 playoffs, with Drew Smyly, Octavio Dotel, Al Alburquerque and Rick Porcello combining to shut out opponents.

    But the relievers' numbers are slightly skewed because Detroit's starting pitchers have been so good. Besides Coke, four Tigers relievers have combined to pitch just six innings.

    The Giants bullpen has been fantastic as well.

    San Francisco's relievers have combined for a 2.63 ERA in 41 innings during the postseason, and boast a 2-0 record. The Giants bullpen held the Cardinals to a .167 average while giving up only four runs in 18 and two-thirds innings in the NLCS.

    The Giants have a menacing mix of right-handers and left-handers throughout their bullpen, and San Fransisco's fill-in closer, Sergio Romo, has been almost as impressive as Coke.

    Romo's given up just one earned run in seven and one-third inning, allowing just four hits with four strikeouts and one walk while replacing the Giants' zany closer, Brian Wilson.

    Slight Advantage: Giants

X-Factors

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    The Tigers' X-factor for most of this season has been Quintin Berry. While Berry hasn't been given as much playing time as expected in the postseason, the 27-year-old rookie has produced when given the opportunity.

    In seven games and 18 at-bats, Berry is hitting .278 with a .316 OBP and two stolen bases. With the Tigers being forced to make double switches in San Francisco, it's likely that Berry will get more opportunities to pinch hit and wreak havoc on the base paths.

    But because the pitchers will have to pick up a bat in at least two games in the World Series, the Giants hold the edge in this category.

    The Giants pitchers hold their own at the plate.

    Giants pitchers, who combined to hit almost .100 in the regular season, are 4-for-23 this postseason, and a San Francisco pitcher has earned an RBI in each of the Giants' last three wins.

    Tigers' pitchers, understandably, haven't produced at the plate. They've combined to go 0-for-13 in road interleague games this season, and Justin Verlander is often teased for his humorous 0-for-33 lifetime offensive mark.

    Advantage: Giants

Prediction

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    I think the Tigers drew a favorable matchup against the Giants.

    With all the factors involved and the way things have played out so far this postseason, I think the Tigers have a very good chance of winning their first World Championship since 1984.

    With that being said, I don't think Detroit will defeat San Francisco nearly as easily as the Tigers disposed of the Yankees.

    I think this will be a grind-it-out series with narrow victories that come down to the wire, but when it's all said and I done, I see the Tigers raising the Commissioner's Trophy and being crowned World Champs.

    Prediction: Tigers win in six games

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