The 2012 World Series kicks off Wednesday night in San Francisco where the Giants will open host against the Tigers.
Justin Verlander has been as ridiculously good as any pitcher the game has ever seen. He will get the ball in Game 1 for the Tigers. Barry Zito will get the opening nod for the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for about 8 PM EST (5 PM PST) on Fox.
Now that I got the basics of the opening game out of the way, here are the really fun-filled facts you need to know about this year's World Series.
What makes this World Series incredibly unique.
- This is the first time in the history of baseball the Giants and Tigers meet in the WS. In fact, they've only played each other six times over the last five years and 12 times in the last decade.
- The Giants were born in 1883 as the New York Gothams. The Tigers were born in 1901.
- The Giants have reached the WS 19 times, the Tigers 11 — again, never at the same time.
- Three times in the past, the World Series has matched a team that went to Game 7 in the LCS against a club that swept its series. In all three instances, the team coming off a Game 7 win breezed to the championship. Boston swept Colorado in 2007, St. Louis chased Detroit in five games in 2006 and Orel Hershiser and the Dodgers beat Oakland in five games in 1988.
- The NLCS win against the Cardinals was the first Game 7 victory in Giants history, following their loss to the Cardinals in the 1987 NLCS and four World Series.
- This will be just the ninth time in World Series history that previous Cy Young Award recipients have started against each other in the Fall Classic.
Why the Tigers will win.
- The Tigers became the fourth team in history to sweep a best-of-seven series without trailing (against Yankees).
- Verlander has a 0.74 ERA and 25 Ks in three starts this post season. He's won his last 7 starts overall.
- Their rotation allowed two earned runs in 27 1/3 innings in the ALCS sweep of the Yankees and has a 1.38 ERA for the entire postseason.
- Madison Bumgarner, the Giants No. 2 pitcher during the regular season and won 16 games, has pitched to an 11.25 ERA in his two postseason appearances.
- They have Miguel Cabrera — who won the first Triple Crown in decades with a batting average of .330 along with 44 home runs and 139 RBI.
An All-Star game paradox.
- Verlander was the one who gave the Giants home-field advantage after giving up five runs in the first inning of the All-Star game in Kansas City this past summer.
- Melky Cabrera, formerly of the Giants before being busted for PEDs, scored the first run off Verlander. Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval drove in the next three runs with a bases loaded triple against the Tigers ace.
- Giants ace Matt Cain was the winning pitcher of the All-Star game.
Well that's interesting!
- The Giants have gone 30-14 since the Cabrera suspension.
- When the Giants won the World Series in 2010, Zito was left off the roster. He'll be looking to get back what he wasn't a part of two years ago.
- With two wins, Verlander would become the first starting pitcher to win five games in a single postseason.
- Phil Coke has been a reliable closer for the Tigers this postseason. During the regular season right-handers hit .396 and slugged .604 off him.
- The Giants are only the second team to win three in a row to close out a postseason series twice in one session, matching the 1985 Royals — who rallied against the Blue Jays in the ALCS and then the Cardinals in the World Series.
- Verlander threw 23 straight scoreless innings this postseason, the third-longest streak behind Christy Mathewson (27 in 1905) and Lew Burdette (24 in 1957) in a single postseason.
Why the Giants will win.
- The Giants have won six straight elimination games.
- They have Buster Posey — a likely NL MVP winner. He could bounce back this series after only hitting .178 so far this post season.
- They have Pablo Sandoval — who is raking, hitting .320/.340/.580 with three homers in these playoffs.
- The Tigers are without their DH, and even their hottest hitter, Delmon Young, is awful in the outfield.
- Marco Scutaro has continued to play out of his mind, collecting six multi-hit games in a seven-game LCS.
Sources:MLB.com, Yahoo Sports, sfgate.com, Sporting News, ESPN, Fox News
Photo Credit:Zumapress/Icon SMI