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Verlander can get home-field advantage back right away for the Tigers as he starts Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Wednesday night and the Tigers are -171 Vegassportsbetting.com favorites.
Verlander is 3-0 in three postseason starts with a 0.74 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, .122 opponents’ batting average and 25 strikeouts with just five walks in 24.1 innings. He has faced the Giants only once in his career, back in 2008.
The Giants counter with left-hander Barry Zito. He didn’t pitch well in the NLDS Game 4 vs. Cincinnati, allowing two runs and walking four in 2.2 innings, but he escaped with a no-decision. Zito was great in Game 5 of the NLCS in shutting out the Cardinals on six hits for 7.2 innings with six strikeouts.
He became the fourth Giants pitcher not to allow a run with one or fewer walks in seven or more innings in the postseason since 1920.
The Tigers and Giants haven’t played since an interleague series in July of last year in Detroit. The Giants won two of the three games. While Verlander didn’t pitch, Zito did and blanked Detroit over six innings in getting the victory.
Because there is no designated hitter in the National League city, Tigers manager Jim Leyland will have to use DH Delmon Young in left field. Young went 6-for-17 (.353) in the ALCS with two home runs and six RBIs. He drove in the winning run in all four games and was named series MVP as the Tigers swept the Yankees.
His presence in left will leave Leyland with a decision to make in right field between left-handed hitters Andy Dirks and Quintin Berry against right-handed starters. Against lefties, as Zito is, Leyland could stick with right-handed-hitting rookie Avisail Garcia or the lefty-hitting Dirks.
The Giants claimed their spot in the fifth World Series since moving to the West Coast in 1958 and second in three years by shutting down a Cardinals offense that had been as dangerous as any in the postseason, and the Giants’ offense got into the act as well as San Francisco outscored St. Louis in the final three games of the series, 20-1. The Giants are 6-0 in elimination games this postseason.
Detroit will have been off for six days following its sweep of the Yankees in the ALCS (Verlander will have had seven days between starts). Tigers pitchers gave up six runs in 39 innings and the starters posted a 0.66 ERA in that ALCS.
They were just the fourth team in baseball history to sweep a best-of-seven series without trailing, and they handed the Yanks their first postseason sweep since 1980. Detroit had nearly a week off before the 2006 World Series vs. the Cardinals and it definitely cost the Tigers that series. Detroit hasn’t won the World Series since 1984.