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Tigers, Giants Eye Pitching Duels in World Series Bid: Fan Reaction

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The tickets have been punched and the train is leaving the station. Westward, they will travel, as the San Francisco Giants look to continue their quest for a World Series championship. As we, the baseball fans of the world, ready ourselves for Game 1 of the 2012 Fall Classic, scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, the National League champions know they have a tough task ahead. Standing in their way: American League champions, the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit enters the confines of AT&T Park with the confidence gained from a 16-game winning streak to end the regular season, dispatching this season's Cinderella story, the Oakland A's, in five games and sweeping the perennial powerhouse known as the New York Yankees in the American League Championship series. Boasting one of the most potent offensive lineups in team history, they pushed through their early-season struggles to find their groove in the late season playoff push. However, it wasn't the offense that carried them to their current standing as American League champions. The secret to their success, above all else, lies with their pitching.

Boasting what is, perhaps, the best rotation in all of Major League Baseball, the Tigers starters have far-outplayed their American League counterparts. Against Oakland in the Divisional Series, the Tigers' starters notched a 1.30 ERA, giving up six runs in just under 35 innings of work. Then, in the ALCS, they posted a devastatingly- proficient 0.66 ERA and gave up two runs in 27.1 innings of work. For the postseason, that averages to a .98 ERA with eight runs in 62 total innings, according to Major League Baseball's official statistics on October 23, 2012.

Of the marquee talent the Tigers will rely upon to quell the flames of the Giant's offense, last season's MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer will be at the top of the list. With 0.74 and 0.82 postseason ERAs, respectively, and a combined allowance of a mere four runs in 35.1 innings pitched, the duo must continue with the pace they have set, throughout the playoffs. Both men are having career-type years and look as if there is no team in the game that can slow them down. San Francisco will have a daunting task in their attempt to do so.

Their counterparts in S.F., though not nearly as equipped in flame-throwers, have a few tricks of their own. With a starting rotation posting a postseason ERA of 3.88 in 65 innings, the Giants ranked seventh out of the 10 playoff teams. However, their one-two combination of Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong totaled a 1.58 ERA with five runs allowed in 29.1 innings. Vogelsong delivered a breath-taking performance in Game 6 of the NLCS, becoming the fifteenth player in NLCS history to go seven-plus innings of work with allowing no more than a single run. Though he's in his first career postseason, he has looked like an established veteran and could, quite possibly, pose a dangerous threat.

Zito, likewise, has proven himself to be a more substance than sacrilege. After a dreadful 2006 postseason in which he lasted just over three innings in the ALCS (with Oakland) and posted a 12.27 ERA, his playoff return in 2012 has been nothing short of phenomenal. He posted a stat line in the NLCS that was nearly void of numerical etchings, holding an ERA of 0.00 through 7.2 innings. Though he gave up six hits, he did muster six strikeouts against St. Louis. His performance, it seems, gets stronger as the games wear on, posing another formidable obstacle for the Tigers.

While the media may be saddened by the lack of corporate money-making regions in this year's World Series, baseball fans will be treated to one of the best overall match-ups the game could have delivered. There are no Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies or Braves. What we get are a talent-loaded Detroit franchise pitted against a San Francisco team, two seasons removed from a World Series championship and currently riding a wave of rising mojo. While both teams are deserving, having battled, persevered and rallied behind the arms of their starting rotations, at the end of the Major League season there can only be one champion.

In the words of the immortal Terrell Owens, "Get'cha popcorn ready!"

The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.

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