First, allow me to apologize in advance for writing about—GAG—baseball. I know from reading The Scribe’s missives that baseball is sucky and horrible and that nobody cares. It’s yesterday’s news, you idiots, and—according to his scientific polling of hot young waitresses who work at the comedy club, “the 12th most popular sport in the world, behind the Portuguese Infant Racing League and just ahead of the WNBA,” and, “what’s a baseball? Who are you and why are you talking to me, creepster?”
But the World Series begins Wednesday, so I figure that I should at least say SOMETHING, right? Just in case a handful of baseball fans stumble upon our humble little website.
The Detroit Tigers finally did what everyone thought they’d do all along: looked like hundreds of millions of dollars worth of dominance when it mattered the most. Oh sure, they barely led in the AL Central at all this season, but when they found themselves with their back to the wall, they came out in force, first knocking out the Oakland Athletics in five games, and then absolutely RULING the New York Yankees with a four game sweep.
They did it with timely hitting from their Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera, and impressive outputs from shortstop Jhonny Peralta (2 of his 7 hits in 18 AB were home runs) and center fielder Austin Jackson who hit .353. Delmon Young, a man who only tends to show up when he’s needed most, drove in 6 runs on 6 hits and was named ALCS MVP.
But the real winner here was the pitching. OH, the glorious pitching.
Permanent Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was the most dominant pitcher in baseball, as per usual, going 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA all while holding opponents to an AVG of .122. He struck out 25 in 24 innings while only walking 5.
Mizzou alum Max Scherzer went 1-0 in the playoffs with a WHIP of 0.73 and an ERA of 0.82. (I also noticed– for the first time– that he has two VERY different colored eyes. I had to rewind several times to make sure it wasn’t just the booze.)
Anibal Sanchez, who was acquired from the Marlins in July and is a notable off season free agent (ATTN: DAYTON MOORE), looked nearly as amazing.
Yes, the offense came through when needed, but the pitching was virtually perfect.
Over on the other side, on the “senior circuit” as it is affectionately known, the St. Louis Cardinals looked like they were well on their way to an easy series victory against the overmatched San Francisco Giants. BUT NOT SO FAST! The Cardinals collapsed in a flurry of errors (seriously—a horrendous amount of missteps and plain old stupid baseball) and the Giants, scrappy, determined and with fierce playoff beards in full effect, capitalized like kids on Sesame Street.
Starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, 12 year vet and just decent pitcher, turned into the ghost of Juan Marichal (who will be pissed when he finds out that I proclaimed him dead) in game six, striking out a career high nine and holding the Cards hitless through their first 16 batters. He’s been doing this kind of thing throughout the entirety of the playoffs, too, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA.
Armadillidiidae-like third baseman Pablo Sandoval cemented his legacy as San Francisco folk hero by accruing 15 hits in 11 games, 3 of which were home runs (impressive, since only 12 left the yard in the regular season).
All in all, the Giants ended the Cardinals’ year in much the same way the Cardinals have done to so many others over the past few seasons: by failing to die over and over again, like Michael Myers sitting back up after taking a butcher knife to the sternum.
And as they waltz into the World Series, this tenacity and wherewithal is a tremendous asset; one cannot say enough about momentum, especially in a game built on grinding out games over a period of days.
Additionally, they’ve got the Tigers rust on their side. Having nearly a week off often has the opposite effect of what you’d think. Resting legs and arms for such an extended period after 6 months of abuse SHOULD be a good thing; unfortunately for the Tigers, though, a rolling stone and moss and all of that stuff. And statistics tend to support the notion that complacency can be problematic.
All of this being said, however, I think the Tigers are just too dominant. Their pitching is consistent and frighteningly unhittable a good majority of the time, and their offense hasn’t even exploded yet.
Despite the layoff, and the magic that the Giants have seemed to capture (Old Man Marco Scutaro isn’t likely to hit .500 in the World Series like he did in the NLCS), I think the Tigers take this in 6 games.
Regardless, I think it figures to be an entertaining series. It’s just too bad that no one will see it, because, you know, baseball is WORSE THAN HITLER.
Come chat about the World Series with me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle