Before the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants meet in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, the one question every World Series predictions expert will have to answer is: Will the most talented team, or the one with the most momentum win this year’s Fall Classic?
AT&T Park in beautiful San Francisco, Calif., will be the site for Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, which has a scheduled first pitch slated for 8:07 p.m. EST (5:07 p.m. PST) on FOX.
And while most baseball aficionados will struggle to choose sides in this 2-3-2, best-of-seven set, 2012 World Series odds makers have rendered their decision for the opener:
According to the latest Vegas odds, the Tigers (50/83 or -166 ML) are the projected Game 1 victors over the Giants (151/100 or +151) and the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 6½ runs.
Perhaps the man toeing the rubber for the visiting club had something to do with those odds, as reigning AL MVP/Cy Young winner, RHP Justin Verlander gets the nod this evening. The Tigers’ hard-throwing righty has been every bit as good as advertised throughout these 2012 Playoffs.
Thus far, last year’s Triple Crown winner is undefeated with a 3-0 record and a 0.74 ERA in 24.1 innings of work.
In three postseason starts, Verlander is averaging 3 hits per contest, including two 1-run gems to go with a complete-game shutout at Oakland in the ALDS clincher.
Still in search of his first World Series ring, Verlander was asked to explain how different it feels this time around compared to his first appearance in 2006 when St. Louis eliminated Detroit in 5 games.
“Everything was kind of a whirlwind,” he said on Tuesday. “[This] allows me to appreciate it all the more that I’m here now and getting the opportunity to start Game 1 again. Having some experience under my belt and having been in situations like this allows me not to be so wide-eyed and be a little calmer and take things in.”
After days of speculation and some communication problems, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was finally able to verify that LHP Barry Zito would get the ball in opener.
Going from postseason bystander to starting in the opener of the 2012 World Series is a thrill for the 2002 Cy Young winner, especially with everything he’s gone thru.
“In this game, sometimes we forget at times what we’re all capable of, and I think those are the times when we struggle a little bit,” Zito said.
After failing to live up to the expectations since coming over from Oaktown, Zito now has an opportunity, not only redeem himself, but perhaps even remind the world why he was once the highest paid pitcher in MLB history.
A victory over Verlander in Game 1 would go a long way as far as justifying the well-criticized, $128 million contract the Giants splurged in order to acquire him in 2006.
“He’s been through a lot, obviously,” said Giants general manager Brian Sabean. “He took the beatings. He’s always been a stand-up guy, he’s never stopped working. In his own way he’s never stopped believing and he’s made changes. He’s made changes when he had to.
“I actually don’t think other than when he first came here that he was supposed to be the lead dog in the staff as it turned out the young guys were so good so fast. You look back in Oakland he was just one of the group. I don’t think the money ever bothered him.”
But let’s face it, even as compelling as Zito’s comeback story is, unfortunately, no one in their right frame of mind would be willing to predict that he’ll get the better of Verlander tonight in Game 1.
In addition, considering how well the Tigers have been swinging the bats this postseason, Zito is definitely going to need the offense to manufacture at least a couple of runs just to have a chance tonight. With Verlander on the mound, that becomes a very tough proposition.
Having that said, I have to take the Tigers over the Giants tonight in Game 1. For what it’s worth, I would even go as far as betting on Detroit at -1½ (-105).
Betting against Verlander and this Tigers’ lineup seems reckless to me, no matter how much momentum the G-Men have on their side. At the end of the day, let’s face it, these are not your father’s Tigers.
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