2012 World Series Preview

The Postseason for the MLB is always a great and this year was no different with plenty of drama to follow. With comebacks and breakout players there have been great stories but many have also been followed by injuries and disappointment. Depending on your team you are elated at the results or dumbfounded. It is just another year in the MLB Postseason much like nay other and like any other year a trend has emerged. Like in any year teams that win seem to have a bit of similarity between them and this year is no different. It is not their expectations or the way they got to the finals but one part of the team that has been great for both teams. The batting for both teams has been good and so has the pitching but it is the defence that has really propelled both teams to the World Series. Every year it becomes more apparent that the team who can manufacture more runs against great pitchers will win. As a result of this teams are finding ways to manufacture runs and the best way to stop that is the defence. Both teams in the 2012 World Series have great players in the field and in one case the team that moved on did so because of the lack of defence in their opponents. The defence has become that much more important and for both teams this could be the dividing factor between the two. With pitchers and batters both taking the focus the deciding factor could be which defence can make the most plays to prevent runs. As they both prepare for their shot at the World Series they will be looking for the one thing that can put them ahead in a tough matchup. This could be the defence and with only four wins separating either team from the World Series they may look to their defence to help carry them. It has been a great postseason once again and will once again be a good World Series where every play can mean the difference between becoming the nest champion and the last runner-up. With so much on the line there is no doubt to be drama and scrutiny in every play but fans would have it no other way as we all enjoy another great Fall Classic.

 

Detroit Tigers

 

 

 

 

 

The Detroit Tigers have been a good franchise in the last few years as the tail end of the 2000s saw them finally get back to the top of the league. The early 2000s and the 1990s were a tumultuous time for the franchise as they had been kept out of the postseason for years. In 2006 the Tigers finally got back to October baseball and went all the way to the World Series, which they lost to the Cardinals. Since then the Tigers have always been a factor in the postseason picture and in 2011 won the AL Central. They fell short of getting back to the World Series though and because of that they looked to add something to the team that could put them over the hump. This came in the offseason when the Tigers made a real commitment to winning signing one of the top free agents in the MLB. The Tigers shelled out $214 million over 9 years to Prince Fielder as they looked for that extra offensive power. The signing did not seem to be working out for the Tigers as they continue to lose and Fielder continued to struggle with his new team. Then came the All-Star break when Fielder won the HR Derby and began to get back into his old form. Fielder became a big part of the Tigers offence and joined Miguel Cabrera as one of the best one-two punch combos in the league. Cabrera was not the one to follow Fielder either as he led the offence and had the season of his life hitting .330, 139 RBIs, and 44 HRs to win the first Triple Crown since 1967. These two offensive stars plus the sure handed Justin Verlander and surprising Max Scherzer providing a good pitching combo sent the Tigers into the AL Central title. The Tigers had a great second half with a winning record in every month that helped them to overtake the Chicago White Sox in the division race.

As the Tigers moved in to the postseason they looked to their four stars to get them the wins they needed. In the ALDS they took on the surprising Oakland Athletics and got out to an early lead but could not finish the A’s. With a 2-0 lead in the series the A’s began to mount a comeback winning the next two games to tie the series. The Tigers looked to their ace Justin Verlander to put the A’s away for good and he did just that shutting out the Athletics for the win. AS the Tigers moved on they would take on the mighty New York Yankees in a series that looked to be a matchup of the old guard versus the new stars. It turned out to be a fairly easy series for the Tigers though as they swept the Yankees and were the first team to earn a spot in the World Series. The Tigers are a very dangerous team and have been all year as they have finally begun to work together in the second half to create a very tough team. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are two stars that have taken over the Tigers team as nobody can solve them this year. The Tigers looked to their star players offence as well but as usual in the postseason it is the role players who are making the biggest impact. Prince Fielder has gone missing this year as he has not been the impact player they wanted while Cabrera has still been great but is being overshadowed by others. Jhonny Peralta and Austin Jackson have taken over the offence so far this postseason and look to do the same in the World Series. With these two players, plus others like Delmon Young and Omar Infante, firing on all cylinders imagine if Fielder and Cabrera begin to get even hotter. With so many players playing so well this postseason the Tigers are looking for their stars and if they find them it is big trouble for the St. Louis Cardinals/San Francisco Giants who will have nobody to pitch around. The Tigers still look strong as their offence is still running hot and their pitching staff is hard to solve as they look to make up for falling just short in 2006.

 

San Francisco Giants

 

 

 

The San Francisco Giants are one of the oldest franchises in the MLB with their first season in 1885. They have stayed strong as one of the premier franchises in the league although they have not been the most successful. The Giants have a total of 6 World Series Titles in their long history and for the Giants fans the team has been a constant source of pain. In 1954 the Giants won the World Series and unknowingly began a very long World Series drought. It would be 55 years until the Giants would win the World Series again despite coming close multiple times. It always seemed like something would go bad and prevent them to win the World Series. In 2010 everything came together though as the Giants were able to finally break through the drought and earn their 6th World Series Championship. The Giants finally looked to be one of the teams to beat yet again but 2011 sent them backwards. In their Championship defending year the Giants looked lost and didn’t even make the postseason. It was an embarrassing season only a year after they were on the top of the league. This sent the Giants into an offseason where something needed to change to bring the Giants back to the top of the league. The Giants looked to do this with additions throughout the offseason including Angel Pagan and Ryan Theriot. The strategy didn’t seem to work though as the Giants seemed to struggle out of the gate once again. It wasn’t a bad season to start with but it wasn’t great as they began to lose ground against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the All-Star break everything seemed to turn around as Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro were added to the roster and the teams began to make up ground. Eventually the Giants were back with a chance at the World Series once again as the team had completed a great turnaround from 2011.

As the Giants entered the playoffs with weighted expectations as the pitching staff was no longer the dominant force they once were and the offence had taken over. They would take on the Cincinnati Reds in the Divisional Series in a matchup that favoured the strong Reds team. The first two games went as many expected with the Giants losing both games and going down 2-0 in a best of five series. The Giants did not give up though as they travelled to Cincinnati for the next three games and won every game. The Giants showed some fierce comeback in the division series and would be tested by another scrappy team in the St. Louis Cardinals. The series played out fairly evenly in the first two games with the Cardinals taking the first and the Giants taking the second. Then the Cards went on a run winning the next two games in St. Louis. The Giants were once again on the ropes but once again they did not give up and battled back. The Giants won the next two games and in Game 7 dominated the Cardinals 9-0 to move on to the World Series. The Giants are not the best team in the World Series this year as the Tigers are clearly the better team on paper. The one thing that the Giants do have though is a fight unmatched by anyone as they seem to play best when their backs are against the wall. A lot of this has to do with the way their offence is built and the additions they made throughout the season. Led by Marco Scutaro the offence of the Giants is a scrappy one that likes to extend at bats and manufacture runs with the odd home run from Pablo Sandoval or Brandon Belt. The one concern for the offence is that their season leader Buster Posey has gone missing throughout the postseason despite the amazing performance of Scutaro. The pitching of the Giants is also of some concern as they are wildly inconsistent in the starting roles while the bullpen can lock things down. The Giants are the clear underdogs in this series but that is exactly what they want as that is when they play best.

 

Prediction:
Detroit Tigers 4 – 2 San Francisco Giants
– The Giants are a team that seems to love to play from behind in the series but falling behind against a team like the Tigers who will bring out Verlander and Scherzer to shut the offence down and win the series

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