Just when baseball fans thought they’d seen it all this post-season with history-makin..."/> Just when baseball fans thought they’d seen it all this post-season with history-makin..."/>

Breaking Down The World Series Position by Position: San Francisco Giants Edition


Just when baseball fans thought they’d seen it all this post-season with history-making comebacks from the Giants, and shut-down dominating performances by the Tigers, the two teams will meet in San Francisco for Games 1 and 2 of this years World Series.

What turned out to be one of the most memorable playoff races in recent history has culminated to a final best of seven format, where one team will emerge as the best of the bunch.

But who has the advantage?

Both teams are stacked with heroes in different places and positions, and both teams have showed the propensity to accomplish impossible feats.

There are obvious similarities, and some bewildering ones as well.

Here’s a look at who has the advantage at each position so far in this post-season, and why:

-First base-

  • Brandon Belt- 8-for-36 (.222) with one home-run, six runs scored, two RBI, a double, a triple, twelve strikeouts, four walks, and one stolen base.


  • Prince Fielder- 8-for-38 (.211) with one home-run, three RBI, two runs scored, seven strikeouts, and three walks.

Those are eerily similar numbers. And I mean eerily. Both guys can definitely rake the ball out of the park, but haven’t done too much of it so far. Though one would look at Fielder and Belt and see the obvious difference in height and weight, both are very good defensively, albeit in their own ways. Belt’s range is impressive, and has made some truly amazing digs, but every once in a while will miss a routine hop. Based on the abilities of both first baseman, I’m inclined to give the position an equal edge. We all know that Belt has the potential to be a great home-run hitter (and has a much higher OPS so far at .689), and with Fielder’s proven track record (and the fact that he is Prince Fielder), the plus and minuses just about balance out. But what tips the edge in Belt’s favor, is the fact that he is actually a threat to steal once on the base paths, and owns a solid .300 OBP, compared to Fielders .268.

Edge: San Francisco.

-Second base-

  • Marco Scutaro- 17-for-48 (.354) with eight runs scored, four doubles, five RBI, four walks, and one strikeout.


  • Omar Infante- 10-for-35 (.286) with nine runs scored, one double, and nine strikeouts.

This almost isn’t even fair. I mean, how can you even compare the two? Yes, Infante has descent range and excellent speed, but Marco Scutaro is on a different level. He’s carried his hot bat from the regular season right on into the playoffs, and has made many astonishing defensive plays (once or twice saving the game). So there is a definite (yet undefined) reason as to why he is now the NLCS MVP. But titles aside, Scutaro has Infante beat at the dish and on the infield. In forty-eight post-season at-bats, Marco has only struck out once. ONCE. Infante has whiffed nine times, and in less at-bats mind you. You also add in the fact that Scutaro is playing in the World Series for the first time in his career, which adds a little extra incentive in himself to play even better. There is no question as to who is the better second baseman.

Edge: San Francisco.

-Third base-

  • Pablo Sandoval- 16-for-50 (.320) with three home-runs, nine RBI, six runs scored, two doubles, two walks, and six strikeouts.


  • Miguel Cabrera- 10-for-36 (.278) with one home-run, five RBI, four runs scored, three doubles, four walks, and three strikeouts.

Now this is a tough comparison. Both Sandoval and Cabrera are two of the games greatest hitters. But only one is a triple crown winner in the regular season, and that would be Miguel Cabrera. Funny enough, Pablo has actually done a good amount better so far than his counterpart, knocking out three long-balls and driving in nine, compared to Cabrera‘s one homer and still respectable five RBI. Both, however, are very solid at their position. Sandoval may be a bit stockier than Cabrera, but Pablo has a slight edge when it comes to defense. With that in mind, and despite Sandoval’s impressive production thus far, I have to give the position an equal edge. Joaquin Arias will most likely man third base when the series shifts to Detroit, sending Sandoval to the DH spot. In that regard, the third base position would go to Cabrera. But for now, it remains equal.

Edge: Equal.

-Right field-

  • Hunter Pence- 9-for-48 (.188) with one home-run, three RBI, four runs scored, eleven strikeouts, and one stolen base.


  • Avisail Garcia- 6-for-18 (.333) 1 double 4 RBI and 3 strikeouts

Though Pence technically has more hits so far, Garcia has been solid. He has far fewer strikeouts, and has (most importantly) done so in thirty less at-bats than Pence. That means for every strikeout Garcia has, Pence has about three. Numbers aren’t everything though. Hunter has come through big when it counted, and was the voice behind the Giants rallying to an NLDS victory, but both seem to be around even defensively. Though Garcia is much younger, and seems to be not as twitchy in the outfield. Based on numbers and performance so far, I have to give Garcia the edge.

Edge: Detroit

-Center field-

  • Angel Pagan- 11-for-53 (.208) with two home-runs, seven runs scored, six RBI, a double, a triple, three walks, and eight strikeouts.


  • Austin Jackson- 11-for-37 (.297) with one home-run, seven runs scored, four RBI, and ten strikeouts.

I don’t care about the average, Angel Pagan has been a beast. The defensive skill he possesses matches up against the very best of any in the MLB, and Austin Jackson is included. Jackson was one of the better outfielders this past season, and has had some timely hits. Pagan certainly doesn’t help his own case when being compared to his counter-part, as he was 1-for-19 in his last four games, and Jackson was 6 -for-17 in as many games. What does this mean? We’re about to get some production from the Giants leadoff man, because he doesn’t stay cold for long. Seeing as they’re about even (Pagan has an edge overall, Jackson has been better recently), it must come down to this: Who has made the better plays? The answer is easy, as it has been Pagan who’s made several game-changing catches, and will start to heat up again as he leads off for his team in the World Series.

Edge: San Francisco

-Left field-

  • Gregor Blanco- 8-for-36 (.222) with one home-run, nine runs scored, four RBI, seven walks, and eight strikeouts.


  • Delmon Young- 10-for-34 (.294) with two home-runs, eight RBI, three runs scored, two walks, and eight strikeouts.

This looks like a no-brainer, but Gregor Blanco has actually swung a descent bat, despite being the average hitter he is. This post-season, he’s made some key plays, and gotten hits right when the team needed it, most of the time starting a rally with two outs. With Blanco’s more than descent hitting and excellent fielding aside, Delmon Young is with no question the better hitter. He is, after all, the ALCS MVP, and is 2-for-3 (.667) with a double and an RBI lifetime against Zito. Now left field is important, but let’s remember that Young will only play the first two games of the World Series in the corner position, as games three through five will be played in Detroit. This will give either Quintin Berry (5-for-18 batting .278) or Andy Dirks ( 9-for-35 batting .257) a shot in left, and will also add a speed factor for Detroit. I like Blanco in the out-field, but Delmon Young is just too good of a hitter to not be considered the overall favorite.

Edge: Detroit


  • Brandon Crawford- 7-for-34 (.206) with six RBI, three runs scored, a double, a triple, six walks, and eleven strikeouts.


  • Jhonny Peralta- 12-for-35 (.343) with 2 home-runs, three RBI, four runs scored, two walks, and six strikeouts.

Jhonny Peralta is one of Detroit’s toughest hitters. More importantly, he has re-iterated this fact in demanding fashion during this post-season, something Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera aren’t doing quite as well. He hits for average and power, and his big size does not seem to affect his range that much, though he is nowhere near as nimble on his feet or equipped to make the plays that Brandon Crawford has shown us all season, and into the playoffs. If Crawford were only a little better at the plate, I would give it to him. But as it stands, Peralta has the edge thanks to his better than average coverage at short, and his ability to swing the bat as he does.

Edge: Detroit


  • Buster Posey- 8-for-45 (.178) with two home-runs, six RBI, four runs scored, seven walks, and ten strikeouts.


  • Alex Avila- 5-for-22 (.227) with one home-run ,one double, one RBI, and ten strikeouts.

Obviously, Buster Posey’s numbers are not at all what everyone expected them to be. In dramatic fashion, the Giants have fended off elimination in six straight contests, but Posey was hardly one of the reasons. After Game 5 of the NLDS, it seems as though he’s been going through a cold streak, getting four hits in seven games against St. Louis (a paltry .154 mark). But to be fair, the Cardinals were especially hard on him, as they intentionally and UN-intentionally walked the promising young star four times, while getting him to chase six times. His counterpart has not been much better, though his average is much more respectable. Avila has caught all of Verlander’s post-season starts, so it would be safe to assume he will be behind the dish for at least two or three starts. Though both catchers are very good defensively, Posey is possibly the best when it comes to catching a staff (after all, he has to deal with Lincecum and Zito) and has proven beyond a doubt to be one of the best hitters in the game, so his bat will not stay cold for very long. Gerald Laird (1-for-13 batting .077 with four strikeouts) is okay as a back up, but is much older than Hector Sanchez (1-for-7 batting .143 with two walks and four strikeouts) and does not have nearly the range that Sanchez does.

Edge: San Francisco

One thing one must keep in mind when comparing the two teams, either as a whole or individually, is that the Tigers have played three less games than the Giants have, and are not in their normal routine. Clinching early might have an effect on Detroit, as they will be coming into Game 1 with almost a week of rest.

However, these are professional athletes, and they know they will need to be firing on all cylinders coming into AT&T park, a place many teams feel intimidated.

Now we get to the pitching, and in a World Series that will feature some of the games best hurlers, fans will undoubtedly be in for a show.

The starting pitching match-ups will be:

-Game 1- Justin Verlander (3-0 with a 0.74 ERA) vs. Barry Zito (1-0 with a 1.74 ERA)

-Game 2- Doug Fister (0-0 with a 1.35 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (0-2 with a 11.25 ERA)

-Game 3- Annibal Sanchez (1-1 with a 1.35 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (2-0 with a 1.42 ERA)

-Game 4- Max Scherzer (1-1 with a 0.82 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (2-2 with a 3.52 ERA)

For San Francisco to really start this series off right, they will need to get ahead of Verlander. Working the count and staying ahead of the ball will be key, because he’s one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game, reaching speeds over 100 MPH.

Detroit’s pitching as a whole has been freakish, as their combined ERA is at an UN-conscionable 1.74. And that’s in the post-season, against some of the best teams out there. That is crazy.

San Francisco’s team ERA is nowhere near where it should be (a still highly respectable 3.36), as there have been many aberrations from pitchers who usually do not get into a funk.

But these numbers aren’t just a result of the starting pitching (though it is a huge part), as both teams bullpens have been very good, though the Giants bullpen has stood out as the clear winner with the likes of Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez.

Jose Valverde hasn’t pitched in a game since Detroit’s ALCS Game 1 win, where all hinges seemed to come loose as he gave up an almost UN-sustainable four earned runs off of three hits in only two thirds of an inning. He sits with an ERA of 27.00, and is responsible for seven of the sixteen earned runs Detroit has given up this post-season (that’s pretty scary for both reasons).

In fact, the Tigers pen has been so good, that besides Valverde, Joaquin Benoit is the only other relief pitcher to give up any earned runs (two). Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Drew Smyly, and Al Alburquerque all have an ERA of 0.00, and have really stepped up in the absence of Valverde and Benoit’s continued struggles.

However, that is a small sample size (Detroit’s nine total post-season appearances compared to San Francisco’s twelve), and the Tigers seemed to not be in any trouble during the ALCS, as the Yankees basically laid down for them. The Giants had a much tougher opponent in St. Louis, and their bullpen was just as effective, if not more, when taking into consideration who was playing who.

In seven championship series games, San Francisco’s bullpen gave up only four earned runs. What’s more, is that those runs came off of Guillermo Mota and George Kontos, two of the least used relievers so far during the playoffs.

Romo, Lopez, Affeldt, Casilla and Jose Mijares all have an ERA of 0.00 as well, and have pitched more effectively against a much more potent lineup through three more games than Detroit’s pen.

The Giants seem to have the momentum going in their favor, and overall I give San Francisco the edge for this up-coming World Series. I mean, if you look at it, once again, the Giants have been put back in the under-dog role. Most pundits, analysts, and broadcasters are picking Detroit to win because they don’t think San Francisco will be able to get around Verlander. Pish-Posh. No one saw Barry Zito’s season saving performance coming, now did they?

I don’t care who’s pitching for the Tigers, whether it’s Justin Verlander or Rick Porcello (who is hardly in the picture at all), this Giants team knows how to get it done and have now proven that they are in fact, the come-back kings. They have the perfect combination of veteran leadership, chemistry, mixed in with young budding stars who are simply fantastic to watch, and what’s more: The will to win. The Tigers have a bunch of heavy hitters, sure, but they will be a little too slow to keep up with what this Giants team is defying the odds to do.

It will be a show-down between the two best teams in baseball, and neither will go down without putting out their best in every game.

Seeing as these two historic franchises have never met in the World Series, no matter the outcome, this series will be one of the greatest the game of baseball has ever seen.