MLB Playoff Predictions 2012: Players Who Will Come Up Huge in Game 3
The Detroit Tigers are going to win Game 3 of the World Series.
It's going to be a tall task with Ryan Vogelsong on the mound for the San Francisco Giants. The veteran righty has given up just three runs through 19 postseason innings and has shown no signs of letting up.
Who ya got in Game 3?
But come on, this is the 2012 playoffs we're talking about here.
With the exception of Detroit's sweep over the New York Yankees, every series has gone the distance. Just when you think one team has it wrapped up, the other has won two or three in a row (hi, San Francisco). This has been one of the most drama-filled postseasons ever, and it's not about to end with a disappointing World Series.
Or at least that's what I keep trying to convince myself.
With that being said, let's take a look at who's primed to have a large impact during Detroit's—I think—Game 3 win.
Anibal Sanchez, SP, Detroit Tigers
Shall we start with the obvious?
Detroit's bats have been colder than a Polar Bear's pinky toe in this series and Vogelsong, as mentioned earlier, has been lights out. If Detroit is going to win Game 3, they will likely need a quality start from their pitcher.
Luckily, Sanchez is just the man for the job (of course, Justin Verlander was also supposed to be the man for that job, but we won't worry about that).
In two postseason starts, Sanchez has given up only three runs over 13.1 innings. In his last start against the normally-powerful—playoffs excluded—Yankees lineup, he went seven shutout innings and struck out seven while giving up just three hits.
Moreover, in his five career starts against San Francisco, Sanchez is 3-1 with a sparkling 1.98 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
Even if Sanchez dominates, it's hard to imagine no Giants hitters at least coming through with some big clutch hits.
Call Posey a gut pick.
The regular-season MVP candidate struggled through the first two rounds of the playoffs, hitting .211—albeit with two homers—in the NLDS and .154 in the NLCS. However, he's shown signs of coming out of his slump with three hits in seven at-bats this series.
If Sanchez does get burned, it's going to be by a right-handed hitter. Righties are hitting .291 off him this year with a 121 OPS+. Lefties, meanwhile, are at just .243 and 82. That's a significant difference.
By my calculations, Buster Posey is right handed. A big day for the talented slugger is coming, and this shapes up as a good opportunity for that big day.
Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit Tigers
Prince is too fat, too strong and too much of a vegetarian to continue this kind of power outage.
Prince Fielder will hit one home run in this series.
Since hitting a home run against Oakland in Game 4 of the ALCS, Fielder has failed to record an extra-base hit. Over the entire postseason, he's hitting just .205 and slugging an anemic .273, which is incredibly just .002 points higher than his on-base percentage.
Nonetheless, Vogelsong is a little easier on lefties and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Fielder finally get off the schneid at home, where he is slugging .577 and has an OPS of 1.015 in 2012.
Finally, the last time Fielder went more than eight games in a row without hitting a homer (Game 3 will mark Game No. 8) was in the middle of July. Just like the Tigers winning, Fielder hitting a home run just has to happen.
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