Detroit Tigers: Doug Fister
San Francisco Giants: Madison Bumgarner
San Francisco jumped all over Justin Verlander last night, chasing the Detroit ace after only four innings of work. Put your hand up if you saw that one coming (and don’t lie, please). San Francisco was powered by Pablo “Panda” Sandoval, who smacked three home runs during the course of the game. Sandoval joins some exclusive company by hitting three home runs in a World Series game. The only other players to accomplish the feat were Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols (last year).
As I wrote yesterday, if the Tigers struggled, rust would be blamed. And they did, and it was. Verlander didn’t look sharp – he had his usual velocity, but his location suffered. The Giants seemed to know what was coming a lot of the time too (good scouting on their part).
Equally impressive as Sandoval’s offensive performance was the gem tossed by Barry Zito. The lanky lefty has been a $126-million flop in San Francisco, but that can all be erased if the Giants can find a way to win three more over Detroit. Zito was in control all game long, even though his fastball barely touched the velocity of Verlander’s off-speed pitches.
Tonight’s starter for the Tigers, Doug Fister, was only 4-7 on the road this season, and he has never faced the Giants before. In his two starts this postseason, he has been very solid (although he has recorded a no decision in both starts). Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner hasn’t started in over two weeks after allowing six runs and eight hits in three innings against the Cardinals. Bumgarner racked up 10 wins at home this year, but he has struggled in both of his postseason starts. On the surface the pitching matchup seems to favour the Tigers, as Fister has been throwing the ball a lot better than Bumgarner recently. But we all know how well that line of thinking fared last night.
Marco Scutaro was a quiet deadline pickup by the Giants, but people are starting to pay attention to him now. Fresh off of winning the NLCS MVP, Scutaro now has hits in 11 consecutive games, and he has multi-hit games in seven of his last eight.
Last night may have been the last we see from Tigers closer Jose Valverde. He was only able to record one out after facing five batters, and he surrendered two runs and four hits as well. Tim Lincecum is morphing into a dominant relief pitcher for the Giants – he struck out five batters in a little over two innings of work last night.
Detroit has been backed by strong pitching all season – it let them down last night, but San Francisco knows that things don’t get any easier with Fister, Anibal Sanchez, or Max Scherzer. That being said, they have a lot of confidence right now (two series comebacks, and shelling the best pitcher in baseball will do that for a team), and they have won their last five home games on the big stage of the World Series, too.
Over is 4-0 in Giants’ last four World Series home games.
Over is 4-1-1 in Tigers’ last six games against a left-handed starter.
Giants are 5-0 in their last five World Series home games.
Tigers are 1-7 in Fister’s last eight starts as a road favorite of -110 to -150