You could be forgiven for thinking this was a boring postseason. I believe I noted once or twice that few of the games lately have been close. The numbers confirm this. If we use the average leverage index of each game and then average all those games together, we find that the average leverage index of this year's postseason was but 0.97; last year's postseason games had an average leverage of 1.01. For the Giants, the difference between this year's championship path and the 2010 run is even starker: 1.12 two years ago, 0.78 this year. To put that into perspective, 0.78 is roughly the leverage for the batter who hits in the bottom of the eighth trailing by four, whereas 1.12 is roughly the leverage for the batter hitting in the top of the seventh of a tie game.
For one night, the Giants' pitching wasn't dominant, but it didn't change a thing, and Detroit dropped its third in a row.
Have you ever had déjà, déjà, déjà, déjà vu? Because it sorta seems as if I've written this recap before. The Tigers’ latest 2-0 loss came against a new starter in a new setting, but the outcome was SSDD—same score, different day—for Detroit. The Tigers, who were shut out just two times during the regular season, have now been shut out two times in their past two games, becoming the first team to fail to score in consecutive World Series games since the 1966 Dodgers (and the first AL team to do it since the 1919 White Sox, who didn’t want to win).
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The Giants try to clinch their second championship in three years, while the Tigers hope to live to play another day.
Before San Francisco’s 2-0 victory in Game Three, no team had logged back-to-back shutout victories in the World Series since the 1966 Orioles. The 2012 Tigers were held scoreless only twice during the regular season. So, naturally, the Giants blanked the Tigers in Games Two and Three to take a commanding, 3-0 lead in the Fall Classic. Can Detroit bounce back and avoid a sweep, or will the 2012 season end tonight, with San Francisco celebrating for the second time in three years? To answer those questions, here is a closer look at Game Four:
Down 2-0 but back at home, the Tigers need a win to avoid an elimination game.
The Giants held serve at AT&T Park, winning the first two games of the series by thrashing Justin Verlander behind Barry Zito in the opener and riding Madison Bumgarner in a duel with Doug Fister on Thursday night. Now, it’s up to the Tigers to take at least two of three in Detroit to send the series back to San Francisco. Step one is winning tonight’s Game Three, which may hinge on one offering by each starter that is crucial to his success.
Madison Bumgarner reprises his memorable 2010 World Series start, killing Detroit softly to take a 2-0 series lead.
In Game One, we got a blowout, which is another way of saying we got one half of a pitcher’s duel. In Game Two, we got the whole duel. Both starters got through their first six innings unscathed. Both starters' lines showed fewer baserunners allowed than innings pitched. Both starters watched Andy Pettitte when they were younger and decided to steal that thing he does with his glove before each pitch.
After another surprising Barry Zito gem and an even more surprising Justin Verlander implosion, the Tigers and Doug Fister try to even the series in Game Two.
No matter how Game One turns out in any series, Game Two is always described as pivotal. This Game Two figures to be no different. The Tigers need to win, especially after seeing their ace Justin Verlander fall in what appeared to be a decidedly lopsided battle. If Detroit loses Game Two, expect to start hearing about how Game Three is of the “must-win” variety.
Justin Verlander and the Tigers figure to be too much for Barry Zito and the Giants to handle in Game One.
The Tigers roared past the Yankees and spent the past five days working to stay fresh. The Giants needed seven games to oust the Cardinals and spent the past five days outscoring them 20-1. Which team will continue its winning streak in Game One of the World Series?
The World Series kicks off tonight, so here's the low-down on each team.
I bet most teams wish they could sandwich a good-but-not-great year in between two World Series appearances, as the Giants have now done over the past three seasons. What’s most incredible about that three-year stretch, however, is the roster turnover that has taken place. Their lineup is almost completely different, and their non-Cain rotation is now made up of Ryan Vogelsong, a mature Madison Bumgarner, and a how-did-he-manage-to-weasel-his-way-back-into-relevance version of Barry Zito—oh, and one fewer Lincecum. Yes, that was the sound of 2010’s jaw dropping.
With the season of the line, Kyle Lohse and Matt Cain are set to duke it out for a trip to the World Series.
Game Six featured the same starting pitchers as Game Two, and the results—with the Giants racing out to an early lead, amplified by defensive miscues, and fending off the Cardinals—were similar, too. Game Seven is a rematch of Game Three, when St. Louis clung to a 3-1 edge to grab a 2-1 series lead. Will the Cardinals prevail again, or will the Giants complete another three-elimination-game comeback? Here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for tonight’s contest: