World Series preview: Giants vs. Tigers

10/23/2012 4:18 PM

05/16/2014 8:04 PM

Offense

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 Park, which will host up to four games, stifles power, but we’ll still say

Advantage: Tigers. Defense

It gets pointed out each round that the Tigers have one of baseball’s worst defenses. They do and, sooner or later, it’s 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. Starting pitching

Were both rotations set up, this might be close to a pick-’em. But they aren’t. 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, it’s

Advantage: Tigers. Bullpen

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. Bottom line

The Tigers could pulverize the Giants with their power and/or silence them with their surging rotation. It isn’t 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, don’t they? Giants in seven.

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