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2012 World Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs. San Francisco Giants

2012 World Series Preview
Gregory Shamus, Elsa / Getty Images

After surviving their record sixth elimination game of the 2012 postseason on Monday night, the San Francisco Giants advanced to the 2012 World Series. There, they will face the Detroit Tigers starting Wednesday night at AT&T Park in San Fran. Here’s a preview of the 2012 World Series:

First, a little history. These franchises haven’t played each other since July 1-3, 2011, when the Giants took two of three from the Tigers at Comerica Park. The teams have never met in a World Series. The Giants’ franchise has won 22 National League pennants, while the Tigers have captured the American League crown 11 times. San Francisco won the 2010 World Series, while Detroit’s last World Series appearance was in 2006. The Tigers haven’t won the world championship since 1984.

Detroit Tigers

Why They’ll Win:

Justin Verlander. As evidenced by his dominant, 132-pitch performance against the Yankees in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, Justin Verlander is as a good a big-game pitcher as there is in the game right now. The Tigers’ ace is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 24.1 innings this postseason. He’ll start Game 1 and a potential Game 5, and he’d probably make himself available in relief if this series goes seven games.

Jhonny Peralta. While Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young are the Tigers’ power bats, the Tigers’ shortstop kick-starts the offense. Peralta has a .343 batting average this postseason with an OPS of .921.

Jim Leyland. Perhaps the best manager in the game today, Leyland’s relationship with his players makes them trust his every move. He’ll know when to go to the bullpen and when to ride the starters for one more batter.

Why They Won’t:

Jose Valverde. The Tigers’ closer has been shaky, including a blown save in the ALDS that forced a Game 5 against Oakland and a meltdown that nearly cost Detroit Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees. Leyland believes that Valverde has done enough bullpen work to correct the mechanics that have led to the tense moments. Detroit won’t know for sure until he enters the game.

San Francisco Giants

Why They’ll Win:

The top of the order. With Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro staying on the ball—and on the bases—the Giants won the NLCS despite the struggles of their two best power hitters, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, who hit .154 and .179, respectively. If the top of the San Francisco batting order can provide RBI situations for Pence, Posey and Brandon Belt, the Giants will score some runs.

Matt Cain. After getting wins in two series-clinching games already this postseason, Cain has established himself as the staff ace. He’ll get a maximum of two starts, but he has the sort of stuff that can stymie the Tigers’ bats.

Sergio Romo. Romo has been exceptional this postseason, allowing just four hits and one earned run in 7.2 innings pitched. If the Giants can get the ball to him with a lead, he can close games out.

Why They Won’t:

The tired staff. After Matt Cain, the San Francisco starting rotation can be inconsistent. It will be difficult for Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong to duplicate the magic they had in the NLCS. The crafty Madison Bumgarner could get roughed up by Detroit’s imposing lineup.

2012 World Series Schedule

Best-of-seven games

Game 1: Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. (ET) at AT&T Park
Game 2: Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. at AT&T Park
Game 3: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. at Comerica Park
Game 4: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. at Comerica Park
Game 5: Monday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. at Comerica Park*
Game 6: Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. at AT&T Park*
Game 7: Monday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. at AT&T Park*

* If necessary

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