Between life and the crowded playoff schedule, I haven’t felt as though there wasn’t quite enough time to write a new post. But, we have a break now before the World Series starts, and it looks to be an exciting Series. Detroit was absolutely dominant against the Yankees, after taking 5 games to eliminate the Oakland A’s. In fact, games 3 & 4 in that series are the only games Detroit has lost this postseason. And, their starting pitchers are 5-1. But, San Francisco is this year’s St. Louis, and this year’s version of 2010’s . . . well . . . San Francisco. They might not have looked great most of the season, and when they lost the first two games at home against the Reds, I wrote them off. But, they never quit. They won 3 consecutive games to win the series against the Reds, then followed that up by doing the same to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals. They’re on a roll, to say the least.
So, I guess the question is . . . who wins? The team that has dominated their run through the playoffs? Or the team that is hot right now, and has the momentum? Since we looked at the typical things in my previous “confidence” picks (see here), I wanted to take a look at some of the less tangible differences between these teams that might impact this series.
1. Home Field – The Giants have home field advantage in this World Series. The team with home field advantage has won 13 of the last 17 World Series. This year is the exception to the rule regarding my objection to the All-Star game deciding home field in the World Series (why should players that won’t even sniff the playoffs have any impact on home field in the postseason???). The reason this year’s the exception is because the team with the best record in the regular season is the team with home field advantage. The winning pitcher in the All-Star game (Cain) happens to also be on the team with home field advantage in the World Series. And, the losing pitcher of the All-Star game (Verlander) happens to be on the team without home field advantage in the World Series. Normally, I’d be throwing a fit about who has home-field, but I’ll save that for another time – the Giants have the edge here.
2. Momentum – The Giants have the advantage here, as well. Even though some might suggest the Giants could be worn down due to such a difficult series against St. Louis, we’ve seen the last couple years that the team that gets hot can stay hot, and carry that to a championship. Meanwhile, the Tigers haven’t played a meaningful inning since last Thursday. It will have been 6 days since the Tigers last played. The Tigers themselves have been through this in 2006, when they lost the World Series in just 5 games to St. Louis. They had swept Oakland in the ALCS, while the Cardinals took 7 games to defeat the Mets in the NLCS. Now, Leyland has been trying to help his team keep from losing their focus & timing by having them play scrimmages against each other. But, will that have the effect he hopes?
3. Starting Pitching – the one thing that the time off will allow the Tigers to do is set up their rotation the way they want. Verlander will set the tone, and give Detroit the best chance to take at least one away from the Giants while in San Fran. The Giants’ clear leaders in their rotation are Cain and Vogelsong, but neither of them will be able to pitch until game 3 in Detroit. In fact, unless they go on short rest, the two of them will pitch in 3 games at most in this series. If he went on short rest, Verlander could pitch that many on his own!
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this World Series. It should be fun to watch. Who do you think wins it all?