In my opinion, this is a team of destiny. I know we have heard this term used over the past few years with both the Red Sox and White Sox winning World Series titles after severe droughts that lasted for over 80 years. But have you ever seen a bigger underdog make this big of an impact on the baseball world. I doubt it. The Tigers have stunned “experts” and baseball fans alike, basically coming out of nowhere and held the leagues best record up until the final three weeks of the season. If you didn’t believe in the hype this team has caused, I bet you are a believer now.
St. Louis - Let’s face the facts, St. Louis’ starting rotation in shambles, aside from Jeff Suppan, the rotation hasn’t been very spectacular. The ace of the staff, Chris Carpenter has allowed 10 earned runs in 24.1 innings pitched this postseason for an ERA of 3.70 and has allowed more hits than innings pitched. In game one, St. Louis will put rookie right-hander Anthony Reyes on the mound who will be playing in his first World Series. Reyes has only started one game this postseason and allowed two earned runs in 4 innings of work, while striking out four but walking four as well.
Detroit – The Tigers pitching has been the dominating all year and into the postseason. The starting rotation for the Tigers have a team ERA of 2.69, fueled by Kenny Rogers who has yet to give up and earned run this postseason. After an rough outing against the Yankees, Nate Robertson roared back in the ALCS with a five inning shutout against the A’s in game one opposite former Cy Young winner Barry Zito. One area of concern in the Tigers starting rotation is Justin Verlander. In his two starts this post season, Verlander has yielded seven earned runs in only 10.2 innings pitched but look for him to pitch the game of his life in game one tonight at a sold-out Comerica Park.
St. Louis – The biggest fear of mine is the St. Louis offense. Any lineup with Albert Pujols in it is scary. This postseason, Pujols is batting .324 with an OBP of .444. After a poor showing in the NLCS, look for Pujols to be swinging that big stick of his for some key plays in the series for St. Louis. Aside from Pujols, there have been many players who have played key roles for the Cards to get them to the World Series. Look for timely hits from Molina, Rolen, and Edmonds to give the Tigers a tough time in the Series.
Detroit – The Tigers may not have somebody who can swing the bat like Pujols, but the Tigers haven’t needed anyone to. The Tigers offense has been working on all cylinders getting timely hits from guys like Sean Casey, Ivan Rodriguez, and Alexis Gomez off the bench, while getting extra support from Curtis Granderson, Craig Monroe, and Magglio Ordonez, all of which have three homeruns this postseason. One player to be on the lookout for this series will be Carlos Guillen, the Tigers best hitter all season. Guillen has yet to bat in a run and is batting less than .200 so far this postseason, but he has been the guy to step up all year for this team when they needed him too.
St. Louis - The St. Louis bullpen has been pretty solid during this postseason, with only a few bad outings by relievers. Josh Hancock had the worst outing by far this postseason with six earned runs in only two innings of work. Don’t expect to see him very much in the World Series. Brad Thompson had another bad outing for the Cards, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings of work. Personally, I have been amazed with Adam Wainwright, who has yet to allow a single earned run in this post season and has struck out ten in just 6.2 innings of work. St. Louis will have to give him the ball in the eighth if they are up, anything else would be too risky in my opinion.
Detroit - The Detroit bullpen has been outstanding throughout the year and into the postseason. In this postseason, the bullpen has only given up 4 runs combined through both rounds. Flamethrower Joel Zumaya missed the last few games of the ALCS due to tendonitis in his wrist and forearm is ready for the World Series and will cause a lot of problems for the St. Louis hitters. Fernando Rodney, another hard throwing right hander who struggled at the end of the season, has seemed to found the confidence he had at the beginning of the season. If the Tigers have the lead in the seventh inning, don’t be surprised to see either Rodney or Zumaya take the mound to preserve the lead into the ninth for closer Todd Jones.
Other Facts - During the regular season, the Detroit Tigers swept the St. Louis Cardinals at Comerica Park and went on to dominate National League teams, going 15-3 during interleague play while the St. Louis Cardinals went a lousy 5-10 against interleague play.
My Prediction: Tigers in 6