Oct 24, 2012
kosmo - See all 770 of my articles
Before the season began, the Giants knew they would be without Brian Wilson, their effective – and more importantly, quirky – closer.
Then the calendar flipped to April. Tim Lincecum, a two time Cy Young award winner who should be in the heart of his peak years, began pitching like utter crap, and finished the season with an ERA above 5.00.
Outfielder Melky Cabrera provided a spark early in the year, racing toward a batting title. Then Melky got popped for performance enhancing drugs and was banned 50 games. He’d be eligible to return in the middle of the playoffs, but the Giants opted not to add him to the roster. This decision was probably partially due to not wanting the stench of PEDs to waft over the team’s post-season success, but also because it would mean Cabrera would be having to re-acclimate himself to Major League pitching during the playoffs – not a good thing.
Then the playoffs began, and the Giants quickly lost two games to the Reds. Then they had to go on the road and try to win the next three games. Which they did.
Then they faced off against the Cardinals. They got down three games to one, and once again faced elimination three games in a row – and won all three games to win the series four games to three. Italian-bred and Venezuelan-born infield Marco “Polo” Scutaro arose from the ashes of a hard Matt Holliday slide in game two to be named the NLCS MVP, recording a record-tying 14 hits in the series.
Now the Giants, after just one day off, face the well-rested Detroit Tigers in the World Series. The Tigers have Justin Verlander on the mound, and the Giants match him with … Barry Zito. The much-maligned and overpaid Zito is forced into the role because the Giants had to use Matt Cain in the NLCS game 7 on Monday.
On paper, this is a huge advantage for the Tigers. They can start Verlander in games 1 and 5 and should have a great shot at winning both those games. Win just one of the other three games and they’d have a 3-2 lead after five games. Get some well place rain that causes extra off days and it’s possible Verlander could pitch games 1, 4, and 7. Or manager Jim Leyland might just pitch Verlander on short rest and run him out in games 4 and 7 anyway. On paper, that’s a huge advantage for the Tigers.
But baseball isn’t played on paper, and the Giants seem to be a team of destiny. My prediction: Giants win, with Barry Zito the World Series MVP. Zito will pick up wins in games 1 and 5, and pitch the 14th inning of game 7 for the save. Zito’s stats for the World Series: 5 and 1 run in 16 innings, for a 0.56 ERA.
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