Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the World Series?
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 23:10
TJ: After taking the pennant from the St. Louis Cardinals’ grasp, The San Francisco Giants are going to win the World Series. San Francisco has the experience after keeping the same nucleus that won the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2010. The Giants have won six straight elimination games so far this postseason, so even if the Tigers push them against the wall, they’ll know how to react. The Giants might not have the pop in their bats that the Tigers possess, but with an extremely effective pitching staff and a great defense, the Giants are going to win their second World Series in three years.
Mike: The Detroit Tigers will most likely win the World Series because they possess the superior pitching staff and offense in comparison to the San Francisco Giants. Detroit pitchers have posted a minuscule 1.74 ERA as a team while holding the opposition’s batting average to just .176. Their offense also has a .271 AVG, .317 OBP, .399 SLG and .716 OPS, all of which are higher than the numbers of the Giants. Over a seven game series, the Tigers will win their fifth World Series.TJ: The Detroit Tigers are a deserving representative of the American League, but the Senior Circuit Giants are going to be hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy for more than a few reasons. First and foremost, in the most bizarre of ironies, the Giants earned home-field advantage when suspended San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera led the National League in a beat down of the American League in this year’s All-Star Game, where AL starter Justin Verlander gave up five runs in the first inning. And this spells trouble for the Tigers, who were only 38-43 in road games this year, which was the worst road record of any playoff team; 21 of the last 26 World Series winners had home-field advantage.
Mike: While it’s true that Verlander is the one to blame for ruining his own team’s chance for home-field advantage, one would have to realize that this was back in July, and Verlander did not attack the NL squad with his usual M.O. Verlander has been dominating in the playoffs so far, as he is 3-0 with a microscopic 0.74 ERA. Meanwhile, the Giants have yet to find an established ace in their rotation this October.
TJ: As far as the Giants finding an ace, meet Matt Cain. Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA, and a stifling 1.04 WHIP in 2012) put up very similar numbers to Verlander during the regular season, and made sure the Cardinals weren’t recovering from the Giants’ early offensive onslaught in Game 7 of the NLCS. Verlander is the best pitcher on the planet and no sane person would question this. Luckily for the Giants, however, he doesn’t pitch every day. Although it was six years ago, Verlander’s numbers in the World Series (0-2, 5.73 ERA) are also concerning. If Verlander can’t get the job done in Game 1, this puts immense pressure on the rest of Detroit’s pitching staff and could nullify the Tigers’ potent lineup.
Mike: Matt Cain has indeed had an impressive season, but he will not take the mound until Game 3. Detroit, on the other hand, will have Verlander and Doug Fister going for Games 1 and 2, opposing Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner, who has pitched only eight innings so far this postseason while posting an ERA of 11.25. By the time the series shifts back to Detroit, the Tigers could very well be up 2-0. As far as the offense is concerned, the Tigers shouldn’t have to worry much as they possess Miguel Cabrera, the Triple Crown winner and the presumable AL MVP. Cabrera, along with a proficient support cast that includes the likes of Prince Fielder, Delmon Young and Austin Jackson, should give the Detroit pitchers plenty of run support.
TJ: The Tigers have an incredible offense that will only get more dangerous next season when Victor Martinez returns. Teams have to be able to field the ball this late in the season, however, and that could end up catching the Tigers by the toe. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder weren’t brought in for their defensive prowess, and asking cement-footed Delmon Young to play the outfield at AT&T Park isn’t doing Detroit any favors. The Tigers’ most glaring weakness right now might be at the end of their bullpen. Jose Valverde has been awful in the playoffs and manager Jim Leyland’s confidence in the closer is at an all-time low.
Mike: One of the great things about the Tigers is their depth. Teams don’t get to this point of the season without a solid bench to complement the star players. For Detroit, those players could very well be the likes of Andy Dirks and Avisail Garcia. Leyland is an accomplished and experienced manager and he will find a way to mix and match the lineups according to each game. As for the bullpen, Phil Coke has done a splendid job in replacing Valverde in the ALCS. Not to mention Detroit still has Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit in there as well. Valverde has saved 110 games over the last three seasons, famously saving all 49 of his opportunities in 2011. Chances are he will get a shot at for redemption in the Fall Classic, and if he fails, Leyland won’t be hesitant to close games by committee. The Giants are a very worthy opponent, but there are just more signs pointing to a fifth championship for the Tigers.