By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
This is a classic contrast between the Tigers bombers (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Delmon Young, etc.), and the Giants relentless rat-a-tat attack (Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence and OK, Buster Posey can go in any group). AT&T Park, which will host up to four games, stifles power, but well still say Advantage: Tigers.
It gets pointed out each round that the Tigers have one of baseballs worst defenses. They do and, sooner or later, its really going to cost them. The Giants defense, by traditional and new-wave metrics, generally ranks slightly below average, although their up-the-middle core is solid. Advantage: Giants.
Were both rotations set up, this might be close to a pick-em. But they arent. The Tigers are rested and will open the Series with Justin Verlander, who has been breathtakingly dominant even for him in the postseason. The Giants are scrambling after being extended to the limit by the Cardinals but, if the Series goes a full seven, they should have a rested Matt Cain at home. Cain has already won two clinchers. Until game seven though, its Advantage: Tigers.
The Tigers are an interesting mix of remarkable strengths and sobering shortcomings and the bullpen is among the latter. Can Phil Coke, as the stand-in closer for struggling José Valverde, do to the Giants what he did to the Yankees? Maybe. But the Giants mix of Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and ex-Royals Jeremy Affeldt and José Mijares seems a better bet. Advantage: Giants.
The Tigers could pulverize the Giants with their power and/or silence them with their surging rotation. It isnt just Verlander: Max Scherzer and Anibal Sánchez have also been terrific. So, yes, the Tigers could overwhelm the Giants much like they did the Yankees. But a fingers-crossed bullpen, station-to-station speed and no-mas defense are all potential killers. And the Giants just seemed charmed, dont they? Giants in seven.
| Bob Dutton, email@example.com