Some things you just can’t predict. It was so easy to look at the numbers and say that Detroit Tigers’ ace pitcher Justin Verlander should have dispatched the San Francisco Giants hitters with relative ease in game 1 of the 2012 Major League Baseball World Series. After all, he is a Cy Young and MVP Award winner. He has pitched two no-hitters. He has pitched brilliantly this season and this post-season. He is as “Elite” as you can get in today’s pantheon of pitchers.
The Giants, on the other hand, while not the worst team in the league, weren’t the best either. They finished the regular season 12th in Runs (718), 5th in Batting Avg (.269)., and 18th in Slugging (.397). Nothing to write home about.
Who could have ever, ever predicted that:
The game’s “Ace” Pitcher would have given up 2 HRs to the same guy in his two consecutive at bats
That same guy, Pablo Sandoval, who hit a total of 12 HR all season, would join the vaunted list that includes ONLY Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as being the only people to ever hit 3 HR in a World Series Game
Not only did Sandoval hit 3 HR, he also hit a single, which gave him a total of 13 total bases, 2nd most ever in a WS game (according to ESPN.com)
The Giants would be so hot last night that even pitcher Barry Zito would record an RBI hit
An infield grounder that would have ended the inning took a weird bounce off the bag in front of third baseman Miguel Cabrera and bounced off in the opposite direction for a double, extending the inning and allowing Sandoval to come up two batters later and belt his 2nd HR of the night
Yeah, some things are just unpredictable. But, as my father reminds me on occasion, this is why they take the field and don’t play the game on paper (see Dad, I listen to you).
This brings us to tonight’s Game 2. Detroit’s Doug Fister (10-10 Reg Season, 0-0 Post-Season) vs the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner (16-11 Reg Season, 0-2 Post-Season). In his last outing, Fister gave up 6 hits over 6 shutout innings against the Yankees with 5 Ks and 4 BBs.
Bumgarner didn’t fare so well in either of his last two games. In his last time on the mound he only lasted 3.2 innings as he gave up 8 hits and 6 earned runs to the Cardinals while walking one and striking out two. His performance prior to that was only slightly better as he gave up 7 hits and 4 runs to the Reds in 4.1 innings with 4 Ks and 1 BB.
A win tonight by the Tigers and they are right back in the driver’s seat, since the series goes back to Comerica Park on Saturday for the next three games.
Of course, if Bumgarner happens to pick up some of his regular season mastery (3.37 ERA in 32 starts) and forgets his last two atrocities, the Giants will be in great shape no matter where the next three games are played. History shows us that 40 of the past 50 teams that started the Fall Classic 2-0 went on to win. That’s some pretty good odds right there, I don’t care who you are.
Either way, tonight’s game should set the stage and tone for the remainder of the series.
PREDICTION FOR GAME 2: TIGERS (Yeah, because last night’s prediction went so well).