World Series: Cabrera, Tigers vs Posey, Giants

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 23, 2012
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Garoppolo remains 'long shot' to be traded

Report: Packers coaches upset with GM Ted Thompson

Rondo fined $25K for attempting to trip Crowder

Logan Morrison curses out umpire CB Bucknor mid at-bat

Raptors jab Bucks on Twitter after Game 4 victory

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: NBA GMs not hesitant to draft Lonzo Ball due to father LaVar

DeShone Kizer changes course, stands by Tom Brady-Cam Newton quote

Nick Saban doesn't offer much praise of team for 'adequate' spring game

Dennis Schroder admits Mike Budenholzer wants him to avoid trash talk

WATCH: Miguel Sano throws punch as benches clear in Twins-Tigers game

Glen Coffee making NFL comeback after four years in Army, seven years away from game

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

Biggest needs in the draft for every NFL team

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NHL youth movement: How the 2016-17 rookie class fared

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker