Has there ever been a World Series Game 1 pitching matchup as one-sided on paper as Justin Verlander vs. Barry Zito?
The best pitcher in the game will take on a guy who was considered a positive surprise because he turned in a 4.15 ERA and a 4.49 FIP this season. One good NLDS start doesn't mean Zito is back. The Tigers have a huge advantage tonight ... which probably means, in a baseball world where Texas didn't make the divisional round and the Yankees went out feebly in the ALCS, the Giants will somehow win.
Maybe they'll buck the odds tonight, but they'll have to keep bucking them to win the series. Awesome as Buster Posey is, they can't match the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera/Prince Fielder 1-2 punch. And they won't get Matt Cain on the mound until Game 4. Normally that wouldn't necessarily be a huge issue for a rotation like theirs, but the way Game 2 starter Madison Bumgarner has been going lately, they're at a decided disadvantage against Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer.
San Francisco has two decided advantages: its bullpen and its defense. I don't want to underestimate those. But the Tigers' edges in starting pitching and offense look like too much for the Giants to overcome. I'll take the Tigers in 5.
What I don't get about the Marlins' firing of manager Ozzie Guillen after one season and with three years and $7.5 million left on his contract is why you'd have hired him in the first place if you're going to have such a short leash. I understand that the team couldn't have seen his Fidel Castro comments coming, but with Guillen, some sort of controvery was an inevitability.
Obviously it wasn't just the controversy. Expected to contend by many after spending lavishly last offseason, the Marlins went 69-93. Guillen had some hand in the massive underperformance, but he'd probably have looked a whole lot smarter had Heath Bell, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Josh Johnson and Carlos Zambrano not all played worse than expected.
Thanks to those players, and to his own idiodic remarks, Guillen has gone from a hot commodity last offseason to a guy who may not get another big-league coaching job, let alone another crack at managing, any time soon.
After approximately 97,385 features were written about the Cubs' last hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo, I think you could count the number of stories that have been done on James Rowson, who lost his interim tag this week, on one hand.
I still don't know much about Rowson. I know the Cubs didn't do any better under him than they did under Jaramillo in 2012. Then again, there's not a hitting coach alive who could make chicken salad out of that lineup. But Rowson obviously must have some adherence to teaching a disciplined approach to have earned some perminance with the Theo Epstein regime.