Upon the start of the World Series I think it’s important to take a look back at the deciding factor for this year’s home-field advantage, the All-Star Game. This can be a beneficial barometer of what to expect in the upcoming series, so let’s go from the Mid-Summer Classic to the Fall Classic.
Certainly more than the seasons have changed since the All-Star Game. The most apparent being that the MVP of the game, Melky Cabrera, was suspended for PED use and subsequently is not on San Francisco’s roster. Putting Melkygate aside (as most Giants fans would prefer) there is a lot to compare and contrast between the 2012 ASG and the upcoming WS.
Let’s begin with pitching. Fitting that the two starters were from the teams that would eventually be in the World Series? There was a bit of controversy surrounding Matt Cain being the starter over R.A. Dickey, but as NL manager Tony LaRussa said in a press conference before the game:
“The one edge that I thought made sense, we've got Buster [Posey] catching and Matt is equally legitimate as far as getting the honor.”
Helping Cain’s case was also the perfect game he recently threw coming into the break. Verlander was chosen as the AL starter due to his dominant numbers that included a 2.58 ERA and 128 K’s (in 132 innings).
Once the game started, however, Cain sailed through two innings allowing one hit while the seemingly unhittable Verlander only made it through one inning, giving up five earned runs.
Hopefully, the Giants can use this as a template for dismantling the red-hot Detroit ace, who is now entering Game 1 with a 3-0 record and a 0.74 ERA in the playoffs. Barry Zito is the Giants starter in Game 1 who is coming off a gem in Game 5 of the NLCS where he went 7.2 innings without allowing a run.
The major controversy in the All-Star Game was accusation of Giants faithful of stuffing the ballot boxes. This led to a record breaking 40.2 million votes for catcher Buster Posey, his first All-Star election. Another first timer was later MVP, Melky Cabrera. Pablo Sandoval beating out the deserved third base starter David Wright from the Mets caused the most backlash, though.
Going into the All-Star game the Giants had three position starters and the starting pitching. Detroit brought their big boys, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, but neither had any real production. San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval proved his worth, tripling with the bases loaded in the first inning. Melky went 2-3; including a 2-run HR. Posey took a walk and scored a run. This stunned the vast majority of people, doubting the San Francisco representatives would produce as promised.
But they did.
In the World Series the Giants will not have Melky Cabrera, but Marco Scutaro, the NLCS MVP, is more than willing to step up in his first Fall Classic. Angel Pagan has proven himself as a clutch hitter and the supporting defensive cast will utilize the Giants home-field advantage.
Going into this World Series there is a lot of doubt surrounding this Giants team, despite what they’ve shown this postseason. Detroit has played amazing playoff baseball coming into the championship series, which attributes for the doubt regarding San Francisco but the Giants are accustom to being the underdog.
It will be a tough, gritty, passionate 108th edition of the World Series but I know one thing will compare to the All-Star Game—it will be much-need and well-deserved pageantry and overindulgence for America’s pastime.
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