Why the Tigers Are Set Up to Pull off World Series Comeback If They Win Game 3

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16:  (L-R) Miguel Cabrera #24 and Prince Fielder #28 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate after they 2-1 against the New York Yankees during game three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With a 2-0 victory Thursday night, the San Francisco Giants have continued to ride the momentum of their NLCS comeback and jumped out to a 2-0 World Series lead over the Detroit Tigers.

The series will now shift to Comerica Park, where the Tigers were 50-31 during the regular season and will need to turn the table quickly if they want to get back into the series.

Game 3 will be a big hurdle for the Tigers, as they'll face off against a dialed-in Ryan Vogelsong, who won both of his starts versus St. Louis in the NLCS, allowing just two runs and striking out 13 in 14 innings of work.

Detroit got an impressive performance from their own starter his last time out though, as Anibal Sanchez threw seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball against the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the ALCS.

If they can give the home fans something to cheer about and come away with a victory Saturday, the entire series could shift in their favor.

Game 4 would see Giants ace Matt Cain take the mound, but he'd be matched up with Max Scherzer, who's been absolutely dominant in his two starts this postseason, allowing just one earned run and striking out 18 in 11 innings. 

He pitched much better at home during the regular season, while Cain posted an ERA over 1.50 higher on the road relative to home (3.56 vs. 2.03), so the Tigers conceivably have the pitching advantage despite the Giants throwing their ace.

From there, a hungry Justin Verlander would take the mound for Game 5, and as bad as he was in Game 1, one has to think he'll come out with a chip on his shoulder and turn in a dominant performance.

With what appears to be three favorable pitching matchups for Jim Leyland's club, combined with playing in Comerica, it comes down to whether the offense can get things going. On the season, the Tigers hit 20 points higher and scored 60 more runs at home, so there is no question they have a legitimate home-field advantage.

If they can bring the series back to San Francisco up 3-2, the Game 2 starters would take the mound again with the Giants the ones trailing in the series that go-around.

That means Doug Fister for the Tigers, who has had the worst luck of any pitcher in recent playoff memory this year. He's allowed just three earned runs over 19.1 innings of work in his three starts but has an 0-1 record to show for it.

Madison Bumgarner has proved tough in the World Series during his short career, and he pitched great for the Game 2 win, but how quickly we forget just how bad he was over his first two postseason starts (and to close out the regular season, for that matter). 

A win there Halloween night would give the Tigers the series, but even if they lost, anything is possible in a Game 7, and the Tigers would have as good a chance as any to take home the title.

Clearly this entire article was a big pile of "ifs," but the overall idea here is that despite being down 2-0 in the series, the Tigers are far from out of it at this point. One thing is for sure, and that is that the Tigers have to come away with a victory in Game 3 if they hope to have any real shot. We'll see if they have it in them when the series shifts to Detroit on Saturday.