Posted October 23, 2012 on AP on Fox
Way back in spring training, Hunter Pence hit a wicked grounder that smacked Miguel Cabrera in the face. A few months later, Pablo Sandoval launched a bases-loaded triple off Justin Verlander in the All-Star game. Here they all are again, with everything at stake. Tigers-Giants in the World Series. A driven team from Detroit, loaded with power bats and arms, guided by wily Jim Leyland and coming off an impressive sweep of the Yankees. A surging squad from San Francisco, boosted by its rotation and talented catcher Buster Posey, fresh from a Game 7 win over defending champion St. Louis. A Triple Crown winner in Cabrera vs. a perfect game pitcher in Matt Cain. The Motor City vs. the City by the Bay, starting with Game 1 on Wednesday in the California twilight. A unique pairing, too. Both franchises have been around for well over a century and are stacked with Hall of Famers - Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Carl Hubbell, Al Kaline and many more - yet they've never faced each other in the postseason. Not too much recent history, either. The clubs have played only 12 games since interleague action began in 1995, most recently last year at Comerica Park. That series was notable because the Tigers fired pitching coach Rick Knapp following the final game, a day after Barry Zito and the Giants trounced Max Scherzer in a 15-3 romp. Much has changed since then. Prince Fielder arrived in Detroit this year after a season-ending injury to Victor Martinez, and teamed with Cabrera as a most formidable tandem in the middle of the lineup. Melky Cabrera joined the Giants and won MVP honors at the All-Star game. But he was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball a month later for a positive testosterone test, and isn't on the postseason roster. The Giants bolstered their infield by trading for scrappy Marco Scutaro in late July and fortified their outfield a few days later by getting Pence from Philadelphia. Earlier this year, Pence's bad-hop grounder broke a bone below Cabrera's eye and caused a bloody gash that needed eight stitches to close. Cabrera recovered fine, and will be the first Triple Crown winner to play in the World Series since Carl Yastrzemski and Boston lost in 1967. There's been a lot of shuffling in the bullpens this year. Closer Brian Wilson helped San Francisco win the 2010 World Series, but is out this season because of an elbow injury. The bearded reliever became a loud cheerleader in the dugout as the Giants overcame a 2-0 deficit against Cincinnati in the best-of-five division series, then rallied from a 3-1 hole to beat the Cardinals in the NL championship series. San Francisco closed out the Cards 9-0 on Monday night, getting the final out in a driving rainstorm at AT&T Park. The Tigers, back in the World Series for the first time since 2006 and trying to win their first crown since Sparky Anderson's gang in 1984, relied on excitable closer Jose Valverde until the playoffs. But when he struggled against the Athletics and Yankees, Leyland looked for other options. Leyland has certainly had time to prepare for this matchup - not that it's a good thing. The Tigers will have had five days off since dismantling the Yankees, and the 67-year-old manager has done more than figure out how to use ALCS MVP Delmon Young when there's no designated hitter at in San Francisco. The Tigers also had nearly a week off before starting the 2006 World Series, and the team from the Rust Belt looked rusty. Detroit pitchers made five errors in a five-game wipeout by the Cardinals. A troubling trend, perhaps: Three previous times one LCS ended in a sweep while the other went seven games, and each time the team that played Game 7 easily won the World Series. Then again, the Tigers have Verlander totally rested for the opener. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner is dominating this postseason, going 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA, striking out 25 in 24 1-3 innings. Hardly the form he flashed in the All-Star game, when he couldn't control his 100 mph heat and Sandoval's triple highlighted a five-run first inning. Cain wound up with the win, the NL romped and earned home-field advantage in the World Series. Zito is likely to pitch Game 1 for Bruce Bochy's bunch. Left off the postseason roster in 2010 - his poor pitching didn't fit with the Giants' self-described group of ''misfits'' - he has resurrected his career this year and made a key start in the NLCS. Not so sure is what will become of Tim Lincecum. A star on the title team two years ago, the shaggy-haired two-time Cy Young winner struggled this season. Bumped from the playoff rotation, he excelled in the bullpen and earned a start, but was shaky in Game 4 against St. Louis.

Miguel Cabrera gets in his licks, and his laughs

(Eds: APNewsNow. With AP Photos.) By NOAH TRISTER AP Baseball Writer When comedian George Lopez showed up at a Detroit Tigers workout Friday, Miguel Cabrera was one of the most excited players on the team. No surprise there. Baseball's first Triple Crown winner in 45 years seems to enjoy hitting and laughing in equal proportion. Fans are plenty familiar with Cabrera's talent...

Cabrera taunts Valverde during intrasquad game

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera gave teammate Jose Valverde a friendly taunt after hitting a single against him in an intrasquad game at Comerica Park. Your browser does not support iframes. Valverde has a tendency to throw his arms around to celebrate getting people out (at least, when he's performing well), so Cabrera gave him a taste of his own medicine. Both...

Giants Leave Melky Cabrera Off World Series Roster

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VIDEO: Phil Coke does a pretty good Miguel Cabrera impression

Last week 89X ran a contest on who could do the best Miguel Cabrera impersonation for a chance to win tickets to Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees. First let it be known that I’m no fan of 89X or the cookie cutter morning show they have going on but nonetheless it was pretty funny to hear just how awful these impressions were. The winner’s impression was even god awful....

Phil Coke hilariously impersonates Miguel Cabrera (VIDEO)

Tigers relief pitcher Phil Coke is as funny as they come in the Major Leagues.  He could double as the bullpen comedian on off-days.  Recently, he was interviewed on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar.  He was asked what it’s like facing his teammate Miguel Cabrera who is arguably considered the best bat in the game.  For reference, Coke...

The Irony of the Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout MVP Debate

I can’t help but laugh at the AL MVP debate. The irony of it all is just too much. Mike Trout, and his major league leading 10.7 WAR, is the candidate supported by most sabermetricians. Miguel Cabrera, and his Triple Crown, is the candidate supported by the “old school” baseball community. I don’t know why people like to pigeon-hole themselves into two groups and just ignore...

Miguel Cabrera Will Be Ready for World Series to Start While Islanders, Patriots Prepare for Big Moves (Video)

The Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants will be kicking off Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, and for Detroit it will mark their first meaningful game in a week. Some fans might be worried that the Tigers won't be ready after their long layoff, but NESN Nation's Dan Duquette isn't one of them. In fact, he's pretty sure that Miguel Cabrera and Prince...

Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Buster Posey Are Favorites to Win World Series MVP

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown this season, and he is likely to win the American League MVP award when that's announced next month. But first things first: could Cabrera win a World Series MVP? He is the 5-1 favorite to do so at Bovada. Cabrera's Tigers would almost certainly have to...

Miguel Cabrera taunts Jose Valverde in intrasquad scrimmage (Video)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Jose Valverde is known for his excessive antics, and so during this intrasquad scrimmage when third baseman Miguel Cabrera got a single, he decided to taunt him back.It’s good to see that the Tigers are loose and still preparing for the World Series, hopefully this time the layoff won’t hurt them this time around.H/T: Holdout Sports

World Series Preview: San Francisco Giants (94-68) vs Detroit Tigers (88-74)

The Giants have home field advantage in this series thanks to All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, who was suspended for PED violations and was left off the Giants playoff roster (his 50 game suspension just ended). The Tigers have the advantage of having swept the Yankees in the previous round, which already feels like was [...]

Seriously? Melky?

A few have suggested that the Giants might be missing something they need to make their final push towards their second title in three years. Dan Szymborski of ESPN writes: “When compared with left field alternates Gregor Blanco and Xavier Nady, that’s still enough to give Cabrera a 4-win edge over 162 games. ZiPS estimates the dropoff in team quality is enough to turn the...

A Yankees fan World Series prediction

My predication is that the 2012 MLB World Series Champion will be the New York Yankees. Oh wait the Yankees lost, my bad. If you could please excuse me as I am trying to purposely forget the ALCS pummeling I had to witness last week vs. the Detroit Tigers, which anyone with a half-a-brain should understand why. But this is not about the Yankees, and admittedly that fact is still...

Aubrey Huff: Championship Factor

The Washington Nationals had under contract one of the very best starting pitchers in baseball, and they decided against using him in the playoffs, where they lost. The decision was talked about for weeks and months in advance. It’s probably still being talked about somewhere, and it’ll be a topic for years. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants have under contract one of the better...
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