With the autumn sports landscape in full swing, it's time for sports fans to partake in one of America's great sports traditions. The World Series, sometimes referred to as the "Fall Classic," will get underway on Wednesday night in San Francisco. Here are three aspects of the Series that we should pay special attention to:
Home Field Advantage
Throughout this postseason, the Detroit Tigers have played very well without home field advantage. So the possibility of having to play four games in San Francisco is not a new concept. However, it does pose a unique challenge: In the National League stadium, the designated hitter rule doesn't exist. That could add an automatic out to a lineup that is somewhat top-heavy with Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson, and Miguel Cabrera surrounded by lesser batters. This postseason, designated hitter Delmon Young has four game-winning RBI's, but he may be asked to play in the outfield. Will that compromise the Tigers defensively? Beyond that, Detroit appears to have the bench depth to adjust to National League rules.
Giants' Pitching Staff
The San Francisco Giants will have ace Matt Cain at least twice in this best-of-seven series, and southpaw Barry Zito will start Game 1. Otherwise, manager Bruce Bochy will have some decisions to make regarding the pitching staff. The Giants could also call on Ryan Vogelsong to start Game 3. His last outing was on Sunday in the NLCS against St. Louis. But there are three other pitchers available. Tim Lincecum, who has won two Cy Young Awards, has performed better in relief this postseason. Madison Bumgarner, though he's been the Giants' second-best pitcher in 2012, has shown signs of fatigue in the postseason. And then there's Zito, often maligned for his limited production in spite of his huge contract, who now wants to build off a great Game 5 performance in the NLCS.
Detroit's ace pitcher, Justin Verlander, looms large over this year's World Series. In his three starts this postseason, he has given up just two earned runs and struck out 25 hitters in 24 innings. In each of his postseason starts, he has thrown 121 pitches or more. The advantage that the Giants will have is that Verlander will be pitching on seven days rest which could knock him off his routine. In all likelihood, he will pitch Game 1 and Game 5 and should be available for a relief appearance if necessary in game 7.