It seems like yesterday when Magglio Ordonez was pointing to the sky, while rounding first base as the walk-off home run ball landed into a crowd of elated Detroit Tigers’ fans. At the time, the Tigers were headed to their first World Series appearance since 1984.
It’s been six summers of baseball since then. After a four game rout of the Yankees, and a tightly contested National League Championship Series, a World Series matchup between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants is now set.
Here are five reasons why the Tigers will win it all…
Pitching staff: Since the last pitch of the regular season was thrown, not even credit was given to the Tigers’ pitching staff going into the Postseason. They had four starters — who were all pitching as well as anyone in baseball in the last two months.
Teams and media around the league have now learned and know that scoring runs is a challenge off of the Tigers’ staff. The Tigers’ earned run average in the playoffs is under one. When you are getting quality outings every night, it’s hard to be beaten.
Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera:The two big men in the middle of the Tigers lineup were a bit quiet in the series against the Oakland Athletics. In the series against the Yankees, Fielder and Cabrera started to perk up by displaying some power, which is not a good sign for any opposing pitching staff. Even when those two sluggers aren’t causing too much damage, just their presence in a lineup and being able to change a game with one swing puts a lot of pressure on opposing pitchers.
Deep lineup: One of the big problems throughout the season was finding other hitters besides Austin Jackson, Fielder, and Cabrera to step up and remain consistent. In the the ALCS Delmon Young drove in more runs then the entire Yankees offense produced, on his way to an ALCS MVP award. Jhonny Peralta has also saw the ball well, and played remarkable defense. Avisail Garcia has also shown he can come up with big hits.
With other players stepping up it takes the load off Fielder and Cabrera and it makes it harder for pitchers to get through the Tigers’ lineup.
Big games: The Tigers have already won a few big games this Postseason. Justin Verlander threw a complete game shutout against the Oakland A’s in game five of the American League Divisional Series. In game one of the ALCS, Jose Valverde blew a four run lead in the top of the ninth inning, but the Tigers battled back on the road and won, keeping the Yankees from going up 1-0. When you get into the World Series, games are bigger than ever. When you have the ability to comeback and always be in a game, good things will happen.
Justin Verlander: Although this kind of ties into the pitching staff reason, Verlander is in a class of his own. Last year in the playoffs Verlander’s ERA over was over five. This year, it’s at 0.53. When you have a pitcher that is able to come out and shut down offenses at will and keep you in the game for nine innings, it’s a dangerous and valuable weapon to have.
The Giants have a formidable pitching rotation and a potent offense. And it will be a hard- fought World Series. But, it is looking like the Tigers have a great shot at taking it all this year for the first time since 1984.