World Series Preview: Three Keys For The Giants & Tigers
The Detroit Tigers used strong pitching and consistent hitting, with a .271 team average that’s the highest of any team that advanced past the wild card game. The Giants? Their success can’t be explained as easily. They came back from two games down to both the Reds and Cardinals to take its second NL pennant in three years and will improbably host game one of the World Series this evening.
Three Keys For The Giants
1) Keep Scutaro’s Motor Running- Marco Scutaro had 14 hits in the seven game NLCS and earned the series MVP. It’s not just Scutaro who has to succeed against Detroit’s dominant starting staff, but similar bit players like Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, because the powerful Tigers can score runs in a hurry.
2) Sustained Success On The Back End- I’m sure there are metrics to explain the success the Giants have had with Barry Zito, tonight’s starter, but it certainly defies conventional logic. Tim Lincecum’s fall from grace, mostly caused by his loss of consistent control and (partially) velocity, has also defied conventional logic, but the duo could end up pitching three or four games in this series against a potent Tigers offense. Their success will be crucial to San Francisco’s success.
3) Limit The Damage Before The Duo- No 3-4 lineup duo is more dangerous that Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. So keeping runners off the bases when these two come up will limit the damage. And Delmon Young has become a postseason dynamo, so limiting him will also be important.
Three Keys For The Tigers
1) Relief They Can Believe In- Only Washington has a higher bullpen ERA than the Tigers this postseason (among teams that reached the Division Series) and a lot of that could have to do with Jose Valverde. Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit have to continue to shut down opposing hitters and not screw up the success the starters have had.
2) Setting The Table- Austin Jackson and Omar Infante are batting a combined .297 this postseason, and getting on base before the struggling Cabrera and Fielder (two sleeping Tigers, they’re playing the Giants) will help them handle this series.
3) Get Wins From Pitchers Not Named Verlander- There’s a chance Justin Verlander can pitch three times in this series, so just one or two quality starts from Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez or Max Scherzer will have them win the championship for the first time since 1984.