posted 2012-11-21 21:00:08

San Francisco Shocks Detroit with World Series Sweep

Tigers vs. Giants    

Andy Bell Baltaci

Staff Writer

The Detroit Tigers had quite a season in 2012. They came back in the AL Central to take the division from the Chicago White Sox. They won the American League Division Series in a decisive Game 5 against the Oakland Athletics, a team that had come back in their own division, taking a lead in the AL West for the first time all year on the final day of the regular season. Finally, and most impressive of all, they had swept the rug out from under the mighty, mighty New York Yankees. Not only did they beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, they mauled them, sweeping the Yankees in four games. The Tigers, many people thought, were the overwhelming favorites to win their first World Series since 1984.

However, it was Bruce Bocci’s San Francisco Giants, and not the favored Tigers, that lifted the 2012 World Series trophy on a rainy October night in Detroit. The Giants defied all logic in the playoffs, and had even more of a remarkable run through the 2012 postseason than the Tigers. In order to even get to the World Series, the Giants had to win six consecutive elimination games, the first four of which were on the road. The Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series after being down 0-2, winning three straight games in Cincinnati. In the National League Championship Series, the Giants came back from a 3-1 series deficit to shock the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals. And yet, when they had to come back and play the Detroit Tigers in the World Series two nights later, they did not appear at all fatigued.
The Giants made the Tigers look like a team of imposters, the players that were once dominant looked like shells of their former selves. The Giants, the underdog, were unstoppable, and as soon as the World Series started, it was over. The Giants, who had come back in both the NLDS and NLCS to get to the Fall Classic, had no trouble against the American League champions, sweeping them four games to zero.
A similar situation played out in 2006. That year, the Detroit Tigers swept the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS, giving Detroit almost a week off before the World Series. Meanwhile, the NLCS went to seven games, and the St. Louis Cardinals, like the San Francisco Giants, only had a couple of days to prepare for the World Series. In 2006, the Cardinals defeated the Tigers in five games to win the World Series. This year, the Giants beat the Tigers in four games. Not to take away from the Giants victory, but the Tigers underperformance may be due to the fact, quite frankly, that they were rusty.

Instead of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder blasting homers over the outfield fence in Comerica Park and into the McCovey Cove in San Francisco, it was the Giants pitching staff, led by Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, and Sergio Romo, that made the power duo look foolish at the plate—Cabrera and Fielder finished the series a combined 4 for 27. The Giants pitching staff finished the World Series with a combined 1.42 ERA. Not bad for underdogs.
Instead of Detroit’s pitchers shutting down the Giants offense, it was Pablo Sandoval hitting three home runs in Game 1, two of which came against former AL Cy Young Award and AL MVP Justin Verlander. Pablo Sandoval finished the 2012 season with a World Series MVP Award, going 8 for 16 in the series.

Instead of the Tigers offense pounding the Giants into the ground, it was the Giants who led early and often. And it

was the San Francisco pitching staff that embarrassed the Detroit offense, not surrendering a lead to the Tigers until Game 4, and by then it was too late. Overall, the Detroit offense had an embarrassing .159 batting average in the series.

Instead of the Tigers winning their first World Series title since 1984, the Giants won their second title in the past three years, provoking talks that the Giants may be the next baseball dynasty.