- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That’s why Gregor Blanco is out there.

The defensive whiz just made a diving catch in left field to rob Miguel Cabrera of a hit with a runner on in the third inning. Cabrera put a good swing on the ball, just didn’t get it up in the air. Hard line drive. Good fortune for Giants starter Barry Zito.

Blanco made a spectacular catch in right-center to save Matt Cain’s perfect game in June. He’s an outstanding defender in the outfield, and we just saw why he starts for San Francisco.


So far, Barry Zito has the Tigers off stride a bit. He’s been able to get inside on the right-handers and he’s using all his pitches. Getting groundballs and keeping the ball off the barrel of the bat.

Justin Verlander threw a nasty curve to get Buster Posey on a called third strike to end the first inning. Then he got Hunter Pence to wave at a slider for strike three to start the second. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner appears to be settling in, finding his breaking ball.

This is the fourth time that Cy Young winners have squared off in Game 1 of the World Series. Zito won his AL Cy Young Award with Oakland 10 years ago. The guys on FOX said that’s the longest gap for a pitcher between winning the Cy Young and making his first World Series start.


It’s the All-Star game revisited! Pablo Sandoval hit a bases-loaded triple off Verlander in the first inning of the All-Star game in Kansas City back in July.

Now, Sandoval has a World Series homer off the Tigers‘ ace.

Verlander struggled through a five-run first inning in the All-Star game, throwing 35 pitches. The National League won 8-0, giving the Giants home-field advantage in this World Series.

Turns out, Verlander has a nemesis.


Sandoval’s homer was the first all season off Verlander on an 0-2 pitch, FOX says.

The Giants ranked last in the majors this year with 103 home runs.


Pablo Sandoval hits a solo homer to center off Justin Verlander on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Giants lead 1-0.

High fastball, 95 mph. Wow! Amazing that he was able to get on top of that pitch. Quick hands. Very talented hitter.

Barry Zito’s average fastball velocity ranks among the slowest in the majors, and he’s not throwing any harder to start the World Series. The veteran lefty was hitting 84-85 mph on the radar gun, but he hit his spots when he needed to in the first inning.

Omar Infante singled with one out and Zito walked Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera on a close 3-2 pitch. With two runners on, Prince Fielder popped out on a tough pitch down and away, and ALCS MVP Delmon Young grounded into a force play on a down-and-in breaking ball.

Clutch pitching by Zito against the dangerous middle of the Detroit lineup. You don’t want to fall behind early against Verlander.

Verlander’s first three pitches were 94 mph fastballs. He looks as though he’s trying to settle himself down a bit and calm his emotions as he fiddles with his glove and the rubber.


Here we go! All set for baseball’s 108th World Series.

Game 1 is tonight in San Francisco, with the NL champion Giants hosting Justin Verlander and the AL champion Detroit Tigers. First pitch about 15 minutes away.

Barry Zito on the mound for the Giants.

It’s a late afternoon start on the West Coast, so it will be interesting to see if early shadows on the field are a factor. If so, they could make it awfully tough for the Giants to catch up with Verlander’s heat.

Gerry Davis is the plate umpire. Generally, the book on him is that he has a fairly tight strike zone. Tougher on pitchers.

That might make things more difficult for Zito. He throws a lot of soft stuff and may need to get a few calls around the corners.

With his team facing a left-hander, Tigers manager Jim Leyland moved second baseman Omar Infante up to No. 2 in the lineup and dropped catcher Alex Avila to eighth.

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