The Fall Classic is finally set: the Detroit Tigers will take on the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series. According to oddsmakers, the Tigers are the favorite to win it all. Of course, this makes perfect sense since they humiliated the New York Yankees in a sweep in the American League Championship Series, but there is more to the playoff that game.
The Tigers were a bit of an underdog entering the 2012 MLB Playoffs. They had the worst record of all the American League teams in the playoffs, and all eyes were on the AL East
In the end, the Yankees took the AL East, leaving the Orioles to fend for themselves in the one-game playoff. On the other side of the country, the Oakland A’s and the Texas Rangers were having a similar battle, which was decided by the last three-game series of the season played in Oakland. The A’s swept the Rangers in a drama-filled series to win the AL West and force Texas into the one-game playoff with the Orioles.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were just waiting to pounce. They have had a talented roster from the start, but throughout the season they seemed unable to put it all together. The pitching was inconsistent, and, except for Triple Crown-winner Miguel Cabrera, the hitting was, too.
The four other AL teams in the playoffs significantly outperformed them all season, but the playoffs are different. During a short series, when everything is on the line, legends are made and new stories unfold.
The Tigers’ first two playoff games were at home, and they took full advantage of their fortunate draw. Detroit won the first game behind Justin Verlander, who let up a leadoff home run to Oakland centerfielder Coco Crisp, but Verlander finished with 11 strikeouts over the course of seven innings.
In Game 2, Detroit’s bats warmed up, scoring five runs, and they snuck by with a 5-4 victory. Although the Tigers let the A’s back into the series after losing twice in Oakland, Detroit closed out Game 5 with an exclamation point: a 6-0 victory with a complete-game shutout by Verlander.
The Yankees’s series was far less exciting. Although the first game went into extra innings, sparked by four ninth-inning runs by the Yankees, the series was not close. The Tigers outscored the Yanks 19-6. That came against a touted Yankees lineup; now they’re set to face an unintimidating lineup from San Francisco.
The Giants look hot right now, and many people would like them to push past the Tigers, but it is not happening. The Tigers have too much firepower with their pitching and hitting.
Prediction: Tigers in six; World Series MVP: Justin Verlander.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 24 print edition. Evan Kendall is a contributing writer. Email him at email@example.com.
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