After overturning a 3-1 deficit against the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League Championship Series, the San Francisco Giants had only one day to rest before starting the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, who finished up an impressive ALCS sweep of the New York Yankees six days before Wednesday’s Game 1 in San Francisco.
However, being the fresher team doesn’t always work out favorably, and it hasn’t thus far for the Tigers, who head back home down 2-0.
With the next three games in Detroit, this series is far from over, but Detroit’s bats are going to have to wake from their stupor. In Game 1, the Tigers were held to only three runs, with two of those runs coming in the ninth inning when the outcome was already all but decided. Three runs would’ve been enough to win last night’s Game 2, but they couldn’t muster a single run against Madison Bumgarner and relievers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo in a 2-0 loss.
Detroit’s bats haven’t had too many big performances in the postseason, as you would expect when so many talented pitchers are on display. And it’s not at all surprising to see quality pitching performances from a team that has as many quality arms as the Giants, who shut down the Cardinals in the last three games of the NLCS and have carried that momentum into the World Series.
But for the Tigers, the lack of production in San Francisco is nonetheless disappointing when you consider the bats they have, led by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and fellow big basher Prince Fielder. Of course, the hitters around them need to step up as well, as there’s a lot more pressure for a pitcher when he’s facing one of those two with runners on base, but there‘s even more pressure when those two are in the groove. Cabrera has been relatively quiet in the playoffs, hitting only .268 with one homer and six RBI in 11 games, and Fielder has been even quieter, hitting .205 with one homer and three RBI. But it must be noted that they combined for 35 doubles, 40 homers, 132 RBI, 112 runs scored, and a .334 average at Comerica Park in the regular season, so there’s reason to feel hopeful that their fortunes and the Tigers’ fortunes could see a turnaround starting Saturday night.
Detroit’s starting pitchers are certainly capable of matching San Francisco’s blow for blow, but it will still come down to the bats to come through in the clutch. There’s no doubt the ability is there, but will it shine through before it’s too late?