World Series Preview: Tigers vs. Giants

IT'S DETROIT'S AMAZING STARTING PITCHING VS. POTENT SF BATS IN 2012 WORLD SERIES

The San Francisco Giants only had a day to gather themselves for the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers after Monday Night's Game Seven blowout in the National League Championship Series. It was that 9-0 rout that helped established the storyline for the Fall Classic that starts Wednesday Night on FOX-TV.

The POTENT OFFENSE of the San Francisco Giants vs. the AMAZING STARTING PITCHING of the Detroit Tigers!

If you've only been a casual baseball fan this year, you might be surprised to hear that San Francisco has a great offense. The media has been telling you otherwise...which makes this about the millionth year in a row that sportswriters have disrespected an offense that has to play its home games in a great pitcher's park. We talked about this last week...and we'll review it again today. San Francisco has a very productive offense once you adjust for ballpark effects!

Let's look at the Giants and Tigers offensively if they're removed from their home ballparks. Here's what both teams did this year when playing in a cross-section of road parks that would fairly represent a "neutral" composite through 81 games.

ROAD SCORING (regular season)
San Francisco: 5.1 runs per game
Detroit: 4.1 runs per game

San Francisco is fully ONE RUN better per game offensively! Now...let that sink in for a moment. You know Detroit has some sluggers. You know Detroit plays in the higher scoring league. And, you should realize right off the bat that Detroit gets to use a designated hitter in most of their road games! San Francisco was a full run batter even though their pitchers bat!

ROAD HITTING (regular season)
San Francisco: .271 batting, .327 on-base, .415 slugging
Detroit: .258 batting. ,327 on-base, .395 slugging

Detroit does a better job of drawing walks, which helps make up for a lesser batting average. But, it's the Giants who have the better slugging percentage even though they don't get to use a DH very often (only in a handful of road Interleague games). The Giants don't have a weak offense that's scoring runs because Tinkerbell has been floating around their games lately. The Giants have a GREAT offense that gets hidden because they play so many games in poor scoring conditions.

This potency continued in the postseason against quality pitching no matter where games were being played. Look at playoff scoring for the two teams to this point.

RUNS SCORED PER GAME IN PLAYOFFS
San Francisco: 4.4 runs per game (53 runs in 12 games)
Detroit 4.0 runs per game (36 runs in 9 games)

You're going to hear far too many pundits asking how San Francisco's feeble offense is going to score any runs against Detroit's great starting pitching. You need to know that SF's offense is far from feeble. They may have real trouble vs. Justin Verlander and company because everybody struggles if those guys are on. Just remember that Detroit's facing a real offense, not a bunch of stuffs.

DETROIT vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Series Price: Detroit -170, San Francisco +150

The market has made the Tigers a decided favorite even though it's the Giants who enjoy home field advantage in this series. The main reason for that is very simple. Tigers' ace Verlander will go in Game One in the Bay Area, and can come back in the middle of the series in Motown. Giants' ace Matt Cain can't pitch until Game Three at the earliest because he just threw Game Seven vs. St. Louis this past Monday Night. Then, he'd only be available again in a seventh game if the series went the distance. That's 2-1 in probable appearances for the aces...and workhorse like Verlander might even be able to contribute to a seventh game if needed.

The pitching rotations aren't set as we go to press because the Giants are trying to figure out what to do! Cain and Matt Vogelsong are the most reliable arms...but Friday's scheduled day off is a monkey wrench that would either bring Vogelsong back too soon on Thursday, or push him way back to throw after Cain. Instead of running through the pitching matchups, we'll just show you what the starters for each team have done so far in the postseason.

DETROIT TIGERS STARTERS IN THE PLAYOFFS
Justin Verlander: 0.74 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, 25 K's in 24.1 innings
Max Scherzer: 0.82 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 18 K's in 11 innings
Anibel Sanchez: 1.35 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 10 K's in 13.1 innings
Doug Fister: 1.35 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 13 K's in 13.1 innings

Holy cow...that shouldn't even be possible! All four postseason starters are throwing at an ace level. Well, Verlander is throwing at a "Bob Gibson at his peak level," and everyone else is mowing through opponents as well. Manager Jim Leyland is having them go as hard as they can as long as they can, which is yielding a high strikeout rate.

Now...to be fair...it didn't hurt that Detroit ran into a slumping Yankees team that was dealing with injuries and an extreme lack of confidence at the plate. And, the Tigers also got to throw three games in Oakland, which is a great pitcher's park. That being said...this is dominating stuff from a staff that will be throwing in good pitching conditions throughout the Fall Classic.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS STARTERS IN THE PLAYOFFS
Ryan Vogelsong: 1.42 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 18 K's in 19 innings
Barry Zito: 1.74 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 10 K's in 10.1 innings
Tim Lincecum: 3.46 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12 K'S in 13 innings
Matt Cain: 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 15 K's in 23 innings
Madison Bumgarner: 11.25 ERA, 2.13 WHIP, 6K's in 8 innings

The Giants took Bumgarner out of the rotation in the NLCS, which means they'll be asking both Zito and Lincecum to keep pitching above regular season norms. Frankly, there's NO WAY San Francisco can win the World Series unless they get some quality innings from Zito and Lincecum...or unless Bumgarner has fixed whatever mechanical or physical issues that were messing him up.

Let's also note that Cain hasn't been in his best form so far in the playoffs...with Monday's Game Seven being first truly strong outing after he was staked to a big lead.

The early Game One line was Verlander -150 over Zito, with a total of 6.5. That's pricey for a road favorite in the postseason, but justified given Verlander's form and Zito's vulnerability. You can expect something closer to pick-em for Game Two once the pitchers are locked in. SF may only be favored in the game that Cain starts...and that's a question mark with the matchup in Detroit

The market has spoken? What do YOU think about how the World Series will play out? Can the Giants keep their offensive mojo going after battering St. Louis pitching over the last three games? Don't make a move in the World Series until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!

World Series selections will be available every game day right here at the website. You can also sign up for the full Fall Classic in advance at a great rate. If you'd like to add baseball to a football package, call the office for details on how to do that at 1-800-323-4453.

The Detroit Tigers coasted to the American League Championship with a 4-0 series sweep of the New York Yankees. The San Francisco Giants rallied from 3-1 down against the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League Championship. Now, it's the Tigers and the Giants for THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. And, WHEN CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE ON THE LINE, you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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