5 Reasons Why Detroit Tigers Will Win the 2013 World Series
5 Reasons the Detroit Tigers Will Win the World Series
As a diehard Los Angeles Angels fan, it never gives me particularly great pleasure to acknowledge the success of other teams in the AL. Sure, I could dwell on the fact that the Angels are nearly through with one of their most disappointing campaigns in recent memory (a failure only somewhat mitigated by their surge over the last 25 games), but where's the fun in that? Yeah, other teams have had their way with the Halos more often than not this year, but this is a seriously stacked AL. As a baseball fan whose team is no longer in the running, I have to admire the playoff picture heading into the season's final 10 days.
The AL is anyone's to take. There's no clear favorite, and with a few teams still fighting for the final two spots, there's no saying whose fortunes will be reversed by the time book closes on the regular season. Could a run at the World Series be the epic coda to Mariano Rivera's thoroughly dominant career? Could the Los Angeles Dodgers complete the greatest single-season turnaround in big league history and ride their momentum to a championship? Could the Pittsburgh Pirates erase the memory of two decades of underachievement by winning it all? All of these outcomes are entirely possible.
If I had to guess, however, the World Champions will be the one team against whom the lowly Halos are undefeated this year. Look for the Detroit Tigers to appear in the World Series for the third time in eight years, and look for them to win it all. This team has everything on paper, which we will see as we take a look at the top five reason why Detroit will reign supreme at the end of October.
5. Strong Bullpen
We all know how important it is to get tough outs in crunch time during the playoffs. The Tigers can rest knowing that their starters will be handing the ball over in the late innings to the likes of Joaquin Benoit (1.94 ERA, 60.1 innings) and Drew Smiley (2.44 ERA, 73.2 innings). This bullpen knows how to get out of jams and provides an effective change of pace from Detroit's starters.
4. They Are Battle-Tested
You can't overlook experience -- perhaps the most important intangible of all. This Tigers team has made deep playoff runs in each of the past two years, and has appeared in the World Series twice in the past seven. These players have a track record of success and are hungry to complete the job they couldn't finish in 2011 and 2012. Of All the teams certain to make the playoffs, the Tigers are most used to the dramatic playoff environment they will encounter, and that will surely be to their advantage when they find themselves facing postseason adversity.
3. Top-Notch Starting Rotation
Let's forget about Justin Verlander for just a second. Do you really think anyone in the A.L. wants to face Max Scherzer (19-3, 2.95 ERA) or Anibal Sanchez (14-7, 2.50 ERA)? With those three set to get nearly all of the Tigers' playoff starts, runs will be extremely difficult to come by for Detroit's opponents. Detroit's rotation matches up very favorably against any other playoff rotation, and then some.
2. Justin Verlander
I know, Verlander's had an "off" year (13-11, 3.66 ERA), but look what he did in the playoffs last year before one shaky start undid him; he was simply dominant (3-0, 0.75 ERA). He may have come down to earth this season, but that doesn't change the fact that former Cy Young winner could, at any given moment, be the most unhittable hurler since Pedro Martinez, and that is high praise indeed.
1. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder
Miguel Cabrera is an alien, we all know that. It never hurts to have the game's greatest hitter in your lineup. But why mention Prince Fielder? Well, in addition to being a fine power hitter in his own right, Fielder's presence in the cleanup slot allows Cabrera to see some good pitches. In other words, pitchers know they can't pitch around Cabrera every time he comes up to bat because Fielder is lurking just behind him. His 102 RBIs are proof that it pays to be a part of one of the MLB's very best 1-2 punches, and that is an excellent weapons to have for an aspiring World Series champion.