What gives me confidence is that even if the Tigers’ starters are merely half as dominant as they were against the Yankees in the ALCS, San Francisco will be toast.
Plus, the Giants’ most dominant pitchers, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, won’t pitch until the series returns to Comerica Park. Quite frankly, by then, Detroit could have a 2-0 lead because Game 1 starter Barry Zito is still an erratic head case and Game 2’s starter, Madison Bumgarner, was rocked by the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS and hasn’t pitched since.
Prediction: Tigers in 6
Tribune Sports Editor Matt DeYoung:
Going into the playoffs, I’d have said that the Tigers’ days were numbered for a number of reasons.
• Their defense is spotty at best.
• Their offense relies too much on one big hit, and they don’t manufacture runs.
• Their bullpen is liable to implode at any moment.
• Their lineup is basically the Big 2 (Cabrera and Fielder), then everybody else.
• Verlander’s amazing, but how will the other three starters handle the pressures of the playoffs?
Well, after impressive series wins over the A’s and the Yankees, the Tigers have put all these concerns to rest.
Their defense has been fantastic (see Jhonny Peralta at short).
Their offense has received contributions from nearly every spot in the lineup, from Austin Jackson and Omar Infante to Peralta and Avisail Garcia. And how great is it to see them running on the base paths? We all know Quintin Berry can steal a base, but when Peralta’s on the move, you know things are going your way.
The bullpen did implode — twice — but that’s on the shoulders of Jose Valverde, and I don’t think we’ll see much of him in the next week. In his place, Phil Coke has been magical.
Verlander has been amazing, but so has Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister.
The Tigers are firing on all cylinders. The biggest fear I have now is that they’ve had nearly a week to sit around while the Giants have been playing meaningful games all the way up to Monday night. In Major League Baseball, guys aren’t used to taking more than a day off. How the Tigers respond in Game 1 will be very telling.
The Giants have some bats in their lineup that concern me. At this time of year, a guy like Marco Scutaro is just as likely to dominate a series as Miguel Cabrera.
But the Tigers’ dominance on the mound, especially by their starters, is just too much to bet against.
Prediction: Tigers in 5