Baseball is unlike any other sport. The Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants both started the World Series journey back in late February and have rarely had an off day since. After nine months and more than 170 games, they finally get a chance to play for the title.
The Tigers should be rested after sweeping the New York Yankees in the ALCS. It was a truly dominant performance from start to finish after needing to go the distance against the surprising Oakland Athletics in the previous round.
On the flip side, the Giants have barely had time to catch their collective breath after completing their comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals. San Francisco also needed all five games to eliminate the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS.
Which team will win Game 1?
So the rest-versus-rust factor will certainly be in play for Game 1 on Wednesday night. Here's a look at viewing information for the series opener followed by a game preview and prediction.
Where: AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. ET
Justin Verlander will take the mound for the Tigers in Game 1, giving the American League champions an instant advantage. He's been the best pitcher in baseball over the past three seasons, and in reality, it isn't even close.
His dominance has carried over to the playoffs. He's made three starts, and the worst one saw him give up one earned run in seven innings while striking out 11 Athletics. Again, that's the worst one. His postseason ERA stands at 0.74.
Which team will win the World Series?
The Giants will counter with Barry Zito. Although the veteran lefty has been pitching well since the middle of September, including a clutch start against the Cardinals in the last series, he's simply not on the same level as Verlander.
It was pitching that allowed San Francisco to make its comeback in the NLCS, giving up just one run over the last three games. So heading into Game 1 of the World Series at such a disadvantage in the pitching department is worrisome.
If the Giants have any chance of stealing the opener, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro must get on base to give red-hot Pablo Sandoval a chance to drive them in. The chances will likely be few and far between, so they must capitalize on any they do get.
Ultimately, it's tough to pick against Verlander. He's one of a handful of pitchers capable of stomping on San Francisco's momentum and turning the tide immediately in Detroit's favor. That's exactly what to expect on Wednesday night.
Prediction: Tigers 4, Giants 2