Wednesday, October 24, 2012

World Series Preview: Giants Secret Weapon

The Giants opponent in this year's World Series is a fearsome breed of animal known as the Tiger.  The Detroit Tigers to be exact, and in many ways they certainly live up to their mascot name.  The lineup?  Fearsome!  The Tigers have they guy who might be the best hitter on the planet in Miguel Cabrera who hit something like 44 HR's this season and have him surrounded by other guys who can hit the ball out of the park at any time.  Pitching?  Well, for starters they have a guy named Justin Verlander who, when he isn't dating teenage starlets, is quite easily the best pitcher on the planet.  The next 3 guys in the rotation Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer are no slouches either.  The Giants have benefitted from the managing wizardry of Bruce Bochy as far back as the 2010 postseason, but the Tigers have a manager, Jim Leyland, who Bochy is probably not going to be able to run circles around.  We can't count on Leyland making any gaffes in this one.

Now, the Giants have a pretty good pitching staff too but until the last 3 games against the Cardinals they seemed to be a bit fatigued from the long season.  Against this Tiger's pitching staff, Quality Starts might not be enough to get the job done.  As for offense, the Giants are pretty good at scoring runs themselves but generally do it without the long ball.  Their game is more putting the ball in play and stringing together hits, "keeping the line moving."  There's where the Giants secret advantage may come into play.

The Giants used defense to significant advantage in the NLCS, and could be in position to do that again in the World Series.  For all their offensive prowess, the Tigers position players are on the statue-like side when is comes to fielding the ball at their defensive positions.  Over the course of the season, the Giants had a Team UZR of +8.6, not great but in the top half of MLB.  The Tigers, on the other hand, had a Team UZR of -28.1 for 4'th from last, even worse than the aforementioned Cardinals and by a fairly large margin.

Both Comerica Park and AT&T Park are pitcher's parks and tend to suppress HR's.  Giants pitchers have been adept at keeping the ball in the park, even in hitter friendly stadiums.  If the Giants pitchers can keep the Tiger's hitters away from the longball and if Giants hitters continue to put the ball in play, that defensive disparity could produce a significant run differential and tilt what seems like a daunting mountain to climb into a brisk evening walk up a modest hill.

Defense!  The Giants secret weapon!

Go Giants!


  1. I wonder if weather will be a factor...

  2. DocB, Good call, agree 100%. The Giants need a win or two early to extend the series and allow the D to become a bigger and perhaps deciding factor.

    On the managing, agree that Leyland is not going to make the managing mistakes that Dusty did. However the Giants are a tricky team to manage against as Matheny found out - it's tough to manage against your team making errors.

    But the Giants do have a managers advantage, knowing how to play in ATT park. Both Dusty and Matheny and Beltran knew ATT intimately as they all had managed and/or played there.

    The Giants have been very adapt at defensive field positioning at ATT and the players know how to play there. Detroit and Leyland have not played at ATT. While WS advance scouting will not doubt inform Detroit's plans - ATT is a unique park (especially the outfield) that can only be learned by playing there.

    With their home field advantage, the Giants can be the better defensive team.

  3. Still no info on the weather, whether we will see 2 innings of Verlander only, followed by 2 hours of rain dealy so the Tigers will have to go with someone else.

    We don't want cheap victories like that.

    A rain out will re-set our rotation though.

  4. how much better would this series have been if harwell was still doing pbp for the tigers