Earlier this year, Pence’s bad-hop grounder broke a bone below Cabrera’s eye and caused a bloody gash that needed eight stitches to close. Cabrera recovered fine, and will be the first Triple Crown winner to play in the World Series since Carl Yastrzemski and Boston lost in 1967.
There’s been a lot of shuffling in the bullpens this year.
Closer Brian Wilson helped San Francisco win the 2010 World Series, but is out this season because of an elbow injury. The bearded reliever became a loud cheerleader in the dugout as the Giants overcame a 2-0 deficit against Cincinnati in the best-of-five division series, then rallied from a 3-1 hole to beat the Cardinals in the NLCS.
San Francisco closed out the Cards 9-0 on Monday night, getting the final out in a driving rainstorm at AT&T Park.
The Tigers, back in the World Series for the first time since 2006 and trying to win their first crown since Sparky Anderson’s gang in 1984, relied on excitable closer Jose Valverde until the playoffs. But when he struggled against the Athletics and Yankees, Leyland looked for other options.
Leyland has certainly had time to prepare for this matchup _ not that it’s a good thing. The Tigers will have had five days off since dismantling the Yankees, and the 67-year-old manager has done more than figure out how to use ALCS MVP Delmon Young when there’s no designated hitter at in San Francisco.
The Tigers also had nearly a week off before starting the 2006 World Series, and the team from the Rust Belt looked rusty. Detroit pitchers made five errors in a five-game wipeout by the Cardinals.
A troubling trend, perhaps: Three previous times one LCS ended in a sweep while the other went seven games, and each time the team that played Game 7 easily won the World Series.
Then again, the Tigers have Verlander totally rested for the opener.
The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner is dominating this postseason, going 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA, striking out 25 in 24 1-3 innings. Hardly the form he flashed in the All-Star game, when he couldn’t control his 100 mph heat and Sandoval’s triple highlighted a five-run first inning.
Cain wound up with the win, the NL romped and earned home-field advantage in the World Series.
Zito is likely to pitch Game 1 for Bochy’s bunch. Left off the postseason roster in 2010 _ his poor pitching didn’t fit with the Giants’ self-described group of “misfits” _ he has resurrected his career this year and made a key start in the NLCS.
Not so sure is what will become of Tim Lincecum. A star on the title team two years ago, the shaggy-haired two-time Cy Young winner struggled this season. Bumped from the playoff rotation, he excelled in the bullpen and earned a start, but was shaky in Game 4 against St. Louis.
By Mark Mix
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