I’m not going against a well-rested Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series tonight—certainly not when his mound counterpart is Barry Zito. That said, I’m sure as shit not betting against the torrid Giants to win this World Series—not when the Giants have home-field advantage, more momentum than a fired bullet and the classic “team of destiny” look (a la the St. Louis Cardinals last October).
Here’s a review of the Giants’ season to date: Trailed the Dodgers by 7 1/2 games in the NL West on Memorial Day; won the division by eight games (over the Dodgers); dropped the first two games of the best-of-five NL Division Series to the Reds (at home); went to Cincinnati and swept three do-or-die games from the Reds to advance to the best-of-seven NLCS against the Cardinals; dropped the first game (at home) to the Cardinals and trailed 3-1 through four games; handed the ball for a must-win Game 5 to Zito, who tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings, winning 5-0; came home and won the next two win-or-go-home games by scores of 6-1 and 9-0.
Sure, the Tigers have been impressive (obviously) in reaching the Fall Classic, fending off the spunky A’s in five games in the ALDS, then sweeping the banged-up and offensively inept Yankees in the ALCS. But the Giants are a like a horror movie character that just will not die. And to be getting such a team at a plus-price—when the only real advantage Detroit has is Verlander—is a gift. Speaking of Verlander, while I’m not willing to bet against him tonight, I will say this: Detroit is 24-12 in games the reigning Cy Young/MVP winner has started this season, but just 10-9 on the road. The Giants are 23-11 in games Zito has started this season, 11-6 at home.
One last thing to ponder: If the Tigers do take Game 1 tonight, the series price will adjust accordingly, meaning the Giants will be an even more attractive underdog. At which point you can be sure I’ll add another Giants-to-win-the-series ticket to my collection.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Tuesday’s Result: Giants (-140) vs. Cardinals (Win)