Granted, all of us can rest assured that when October rolls around, Alex Rodriguez will vanish. But raise your hands: How many of you thought Luis Gonzalez would hit a broken bat blooper off Mariano "Hammer of God? I am God" Rivera to win the 2001 World Series? How many of you figured dial-up-modem-slow Sid Bream would somehow beat out a Barry Bonds throw to win the 1992 NLCS? Tell me, young Jedis, did anyone forsee the St. Louis Cardinals sneaking into last year's playoffs on the very last day of the regular season, and then winning it all? Did anyone picture the Washington Nationals blowing a six-run Game 5 lead to lose to the Cardinals this year, or the Cardinals blowing a 3-1 series lead to fall to the Giants? Did anyone expect Sandoval to hit three home runs off Verlander last night? Did Sandoval?
With all of the above in mind, here are my predictions for Game 2 and the rest of the World Series: Donald Trump will reveal Prince Fielder's Little League stat sheets on Twitter. Buster Olney will win a game while pinch-hitting for Buster Posey. And Verlander will sulk over his Game 1 loss exactly until the moment he realizes he's still dating Kate Upton. (Actually, that one is probably accurate). In other words, I have no predictions. And I think that's wise, given that of 58 combined ESPN and Sports Illustrated pundits who predicted World Series match-ups at the start of the season, a minuscule 58 got the eventual Giants-Tigers pairing wrong. Which, it should be noted, is statistically worse than random.
Fellas, I appreciate your best efforts. But here's a tip: sportswriters prognosticate. Baseball laughs.
Well, at times like these I'm reminded of Roger Angell's seminal passage on the Fall Classic after Carlton Fisk's legendary home run in the great October of '75...
Kidding. Let's get right to the series. On the one hand, you have the Giants, dancing with the devil in two straight series, who seem to Hulk up only when their backs are against the wall. They have a bona fide ace in Matt Cain (who won't pitch until Game 3), the MVP front-runner in Posey and the remarkable Marco Scutaro, who has channeled his inner Billy Hatcher this postseason. While their back-end starting pitching has two big question marks, namely Tim Lincecum and Barry "Is it 2001 again?" Zito, but their bullpen is strong and led by bombastic closer Sergio Romo. And yes Hampton, bombastic was used deliberately.
But as compelling as the Giants are, I can't see them beating the juggernaut that is the Detroit Tigers, not even with home-field advantage. The Tigers were built for the playoffs, with a killer starting rotation and a few superstars in the lineup. The light-hitting Giants managed to solve Verlander in Game 1, but they get strikeout machine Max Scherzer in Game 2 tonight, and the eerily consistent Doug Fister in Game 3. I simply don't believe the Giants can beat Verlander twice in a row, despite the reigning MVP's growing penchant for choking in the World Series.