Detroit Tigers

Did the Detroit Tigers Only Look so Good Because the Yankees Were so Bad?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24:  (L-R) Alex Avila #13, Justin Verlander #35 and pitching coach Jeff Jones of the Detroit Tigers talk on the mound against the San Francisco Giants during Game One of the Major League Baseball World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Ron JuckettContributor IIIOctober 25, 2012

The short answer is no, but after being on the wrong end of an 8-3 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, the question deserves to be asked.

Yes, the Yankees were flatter than a can of soda left on the kitchen counter overnight and yes, the Giants are really riding on an incredible wave after shutting down the Cardinals in Game 7.

Still, this is a Tiger team that really did not get a ton of respect after sweeping the Yankees or from how their pitchers kept Oakland Athletic hitters in balance during the American League Championship Series.

The question of just how good this Tigers team really is becomes valid, however, because of the way the Giants just pounded ace pitcher Justin Verlander Wednesday night. In a postseason that has seen Verlander throw almost complete games with 130 pitches, Verlander threw 97 pitches and lasted just four innings.

Whatever confidence they were trying to give one-time closer Jose Valverde also went by the wayside as the only batter he retired in the seventh inning was striking out Tim Lincecum.

This was just a plain old bad night for the Tigers against a team that is playing their best ball of the postseason in San Francisco.

Where the Tigers can start to show how good they are starts Thursday in Game 2 with Doug Fister on the mound.

Outside of Valverde's implosion, the bullpen was also not that awful, and Tiger hitters were more patient trying to work the count against Zito than the Cardinals were Monday against Matt Cain.

Also, give credit to the Giants for doing everything right on the field tonight.

Besides Pablo Sandoval's historic three home run night, left fielder Gregor Blanco robbed two sure Tiger hits by making diving catches early in the game.

Tim Lincecum retired all seven batters he faced in relief of Barry Zito, who also did a very good job of getting out of trouble on his own.

One game does not a series make, and the Tigers can still go back to Detroit for Saturday's Game 3 with a split.

Of course, they thought that split would have come on the arm of Verlander.

If the Giants play as well as they did tonight, the Tigers will not beat them no matter how well they play, because San Francisco just played that well.

The Tigers knew they would have their hands full going in, how well they can adjust to the "never say die" Giants as supposed to the moribund Yankees will tell us in the end just how good Detroit really is.

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