Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
I have been agonizing over this prediction for the last couple days, and it has me all over the place, to be quite honest. There are a number of reasons to be optimistic about the Tigers and overall I'm feeling optimistic, and as TigsTown's resident realist/pessimist, such feelings petrify me even more, as I've convinced myself that if I'm feeling confident, I am setting us up for failure (THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!). Trying to take my emotions out of it, with Justin Verlander on the mound, you always feel good about the Tigers chances, but the rest of the rotation has been excellent as well, and with great starting pitching, it's tough to lose, so long as the bullpen avoids any more implosions. But if I focus on the Tigers often-anemic lineup and the four road games in a different time zone after a week layoff, that non-emotional optimism dies quickly. As you can see, I'm conflicted. On WTKA this morning I copped out of making a prediction, but I can't do that here. At the end of the day, this team is still a team with good starting pitching (but they've pitched over their head so far), the bullpen has been and will continue to be shaky, and the lineup will have its ups and downs. That spells a long, tight series to me. A six or seven game series means returning to San Francisco to face what is likely some combination of the top of their rotation (Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong, potentially on short rest), and in a case like that, I just can't take the Tigers. Giants in 7, breaking every Detroit fan's heart.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
There's a fine line between having days off to rest and get your rotation lined up, and losing your edge. Unlike the 2006 postseason, the Tigers tried to maintain that edge by scrimmaging with the help of young minor league players. Also, unlike the 2006 postseason, the Tigers are a young core that has been through the post-season grind and appear to want this badly. They have a starting rotation that has been razor sharp over the last couple of months, and that rotation is backed by a bullpen full of arms capable of mixing and matching along the way. Leyland will have to manage his bullpen carefully, particularly in the first two games in a National League park, but the pitching staff should keep the Tigers in every game. The offense, well, the offense is going to be the key to the series for the Tigers. Neither team is known for scoring runs, but the Tigers have the thump in the middle of the order to hand their starters a nice lead in the first three or four innings. If both Cabrera and Fielder hit at a reasonable rate, the Tigers should be able to find enough contributions from the other seven spots in the order to have more than a fighting chance. It's never easy to be the team walking in the front door of a team coming off an emotional comeback, but the Tigers appear poised to run through this postseason and capture their first World Series crown since 1984. I'll take the Tigers in five.
Chris Vannini, Senior Staff Writer
Why stop now? I'm going to go with the Tigers in six games. Detroit goes from the team with the most home runs in the Yankees to the fewest in the Giants. But it's not like the Giants can't hit. With a .269 team average, that was good enough for fifth in the majors, one spot ahead of the Tigers. Both teams were also top-10 in team ERA, so, on paper, the teams are very similar. The Tigers got this far without a ton of offense, really, until that final game against the Yanks. I think the Tigers starting pitching gives them the edge to take the series in six, maybe seven, games.
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