In the most fitting home field advantage in World Series history, the Tigers went off to face the Giants in San Francisco. The reason the Giants were the first team to ever actually earn home field advantage is that is used to just alternate season by season before it was replaced by the new system where the winner of the All-Star game gets home field. This year, Tigers ace Justin Verlander started for the AL while the NL starting lineup was filled with Giants. Matt Cain started for the NL, Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval all started offensively. The Giants hitters combined for a home run, a triple, a single, a walk, four runs and five RBI while Cain threw two innings or scoreless ball. Verlander on the other side gave up five runs in a single inning and took the loss.
Game 1: Tigers 3 – Giants 8
The Giants owned every part of game one. Barry Zito impressed over 5.2 innings after being a disappointment over the past couple seasons after signing a big contract with San Francisco. Tim Lincecum came in for Zito in relief and allowed no runs pitching through the 8th. Verlander on the other hand gave up five runs in four innings, much of that coming while Kung Foo Panda was at bat. The most impressive thing about this game was Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs that tied a Major League record for most home runs in a World Series game (Babe Ruth did it twice, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols last season). He hit a single in his final at bat, giving him a perfect offensive day with 3 runs and 4 RBI.
Game 2: Tigers 0 – Giants 2
After Zito had a great game in game one, Madison Bumgarner outmatched him in game two. Both Bumgarner and Tigers starter Doug Fister pitched through six innings allowing a single combined run. In what was a great pitched game overall, the Giants scored their first run on a double play off Drew Smyly and their second after Smyly walked the bases loaded the next inning and allowed a sacrifice fly. This was all the Giants needed to win behind their great bullpen.
Game 3: Giants 2 – Tigers 0
Back in Detroit it was more of the same as the Giants blanked the Motor City Kitties for the second game in a row. This time San Francisco used a combination of Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo to keep the Tigers off the board. Offensive has been at a premium during most of the postseason this year and the Giants made the Tigers look Yankees through the first three games of the World Series.
Game 4: Giants 4 – Tigers 3
Game four was the first truly competitive game of the World Series, with the Tigers pushing the Giants into extra innings before being eliminated in the tenth. This was the first game that the Tigers came back to take the lead in, although they immediately lost it when Buster Posey hit a two run home run in the sixth to take back the lead. In the tenth Marco Scutaro (the likeliest of World Series heroes) knocked in Ryan Theriot.
It is to bad for those who wanted to see a little back and forth as the Tigers, while they may have been the worse team, were incredibly handicapped during this series. The pitching match-ups were set for the Tigers to take the first two games, with their top pitchers going while the Giants top pitchers going in games three and four. Once the Tigers lost the first two, there was very little chance for them to come back. Most likely the reason Verlander lost game was was the extended time off before the start. He is a pitcher who gets stronger as the game goes on and seems to pitch better after being a little tired. This length of time off almost certainly hurt him and pushed the Tigers to their 0-1 start.
With the Giants World Series Champions, we can now move on to much more important things like the free agent season. Now that the season is over, the Indians can start entering into some trade talks with other team, can make decisions on players under contract and finish signing the coaching staff. One positive point of Series for the Tribe is that of all the purchased teams filled with superstarts (the Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Phillies, Angels, etc) ended up failing while a team that was mostly home grown based around good pitching and role players rather than pure power. One last Cleveland Indians point, the Indians went 10-8 against the World Series teams this year and had a .433 winning percent against all playoff teams during the regular season, up from a .412 winning percent against all other teams.