The San Francisco Giants host the Detroit Tigers for Game 1 of the World Series tonight. A recap of the playoffs so far and a quick preview of the World Series by Jon Michaud on The New Yorker’s Sporting Scene blog—”The World Series: Lacklustre or Lustrous?”:
Neither of the Championship Series delivered the kind of excitement baseball gave us in the divisional round. With the addition of two extra wild-card teams this year, M.L.B.’s postseason is beginning to resemble the death-march playoffs of the N.B.A. and N.H.L. Plus, the Giants and the Tigers, ancient franchises both, have never met in the Fall Classic, so there is no history to provide extra juice. All this might indicate a lacklustre World Series to come. Nevertheless, the matchup looks promising.
Detroit has the game’s best pitcher, Verlander, and its best hitter, the Triple-Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. They are rested and have set up their pitching rotation with Verlander potentially able to start three games if the series goes the distance. The Giants may not have equals for the Tigers’ superlative stars, but they are streaking. San Francisco scored twenty runs in their last three games while allowing only one. N.L.C.S. M.V.P. Scutaro batted .500 against St. Louis. And extra rest has not always been a boon at this time of year, as Detroit discovered in 2006, when they had six days off after sweeping the N.L.C.S. They committed eight errors in the World Series that year, losing in five games to the Cardinals. San Francisco, meanwhile, has now prevailed in six consecutive elimination games—three each against the Reds and Cards. “Hopefully, next round, we’ll make it a little easier on ourselves,” said Zito after last night’s clincher. For the sake of the World Series, let’s hope not.