Why the San Francisco Giants Should Be Very Afraid of the Detroit Tigers

Ron Juckett@ronjuckettContributor IIIOctober 23, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18:  Phil Coke #40 of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the New York Yankees during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

One of the tough things that comes with a series sweep, such as what the Detroit Tigers did to the New York Yankees, and a seven-game thriller, such as what the San Francisco Giants just did to the St. Louis Cardinals, is the belief that all the momentum is with the team that played last.

Even with the first two games of the 2012 World Series being at home in San Francisco, the Detroit Tigers come into this World Series the better team on paper.

Yes, they have had nearly a week off after taking care of the Yankees, and yes, they bombed out in five games to the Cardinals six years ago after sweeping Oakland in the American League Championship Series.

They also bring to the West Coast the best starting rotation in the game today.

Justin Verlander and the rest of the Tiger crew will pitch the first four games on nearly a week's rest. After the way Detroit silenced the Athletics and Yankees bats to reach the World Series, Giants hitters will have to be leery as the series gets underway.

Going the full seven games, the Giants will not be able to set up a starting rotation to match. Presumably, they will be going with Barry Zito for Game 1 on Wednesday.

Staff ace Matt Cain has not been a true ace this postseason, even with throwing 5.2 shutout innings in Game 7.

After establishing quick two-strike counts, Cain spent too much time nibbling at the corners and burned through 100 pitches by the sixth inning. Detroit's hitters will know to lay off and make Cain and others try to beat them by pounding strikes.

The other question mark in the Giants rotation is Tim Lincecum. Brilliant in relief against Cincinnati, Lincecum struggled with his control in his Game 4 start in St. Louis before being pulled.

Tiger bats were heating up at the end of the Yankees series, and they have the Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera anchoring the offense.

Is this to say that the Giants have no shot? Of course not.

They have battled in both their series with their backs against the wall, winning six straight elimination games. They really worked the count against Cardinal pitchers, and the home crowd certainly gives the Giants a big boost.

Detroit, on the other hand, is better prepared after the long layoff than it was six years ago. It is also coming off series victories against two teams with the regular season record.

The Tigers gelled together as the season came to a close, and all the momentum they had in taking care of the Yankees should not disappear, even after a week.

What we have left are two balanced teams, with noticeable strengths and weaknesses, that should make for a very good series.

If you believe, however, that pitching wins championships, then the decided edge has to go to Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers. Planning around that will be very tough for Bruce Bochy and the Giants brain trust.