Found October 24, 2012 on Detroit Sports 360:
The fall classic begins tonight. The Detroit Tigers travel to California to face the San Francisco Giants needing four more wins to achieve the ultimate baseball goal. This should be a very competitive series, with most pundits weighing in for one team or the other in six or seven games. Game one features a pitching match up classic between Justin Verlander and Barry Zito. Here are the things to watch for tonight and throughout: JV on the big stage- There is no question the strength of the Detroit Tigers is their starting pitching. However, we have seen JV stumble on the big stage in the past. Most recently in the 2012 MLB All Star game, ironically his performance there is why game one is being played in San Francisco. He has been nothing less than dominant so far in the 2012 post season, and the Tigers need him to be so again. The Tigers bullpen- Phil Coke should remain the closer, as his performance in that role in the ALCS likely demands. However, what does Manger Jim Leyland do with Jose Valverde? It has now been 11 days since his collapse in the 9th inning of game one of the ALCS. He has not pitched since. Small Ball- the Giants hit just 103 home runs in the regular season, the fewest in MLB in 2012, and playing small ball against a somewhat questionable Tigers defense could be the key match up in this series. The Tigers must not allow any four out innings. They need to be sharp in the field and make outs. Buster Posey and Marco Scutaro- the Tigers will have an all righty starting pitching rotation and these two Giants hit RHP very well. Can JV, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Max Scherzer shut them down and continue the kind of dominance we saw in the ALCS? Tigers offensive power- The Tigers scored eight runs in the final game of the ALCS, but the offense has been a tad bit cold overall. They have been shutout once in this post season and won two more games by one run a piece. They have scored four or less runs in four of the nine 2012 post season games. They will likely need to score more than four runs in each game to beat the Giants. Related Links: Detroit Tigers news and notes Detroit Sports Media Examiner Joshua Lobdell.com
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