Oct 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws a pitch against the New York Yankees in the 7th inning during game three of the 2012 ALCS at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants came away with an improbable victory last night to extend the series versus the St. Louis Cardinals to a sixth game. So we don’t yet know who Detroit’s World Series opponent will be, but we do know that having a completely right-handed starting staff it will be to the Tigers’ advantage.
Both the Cardinals and Giants destroyed left-handed pitching during the regular season. And it’s not that they were just good versus lefties, they were two of the best teams in the league when it came to winning games versus left-handed starters. San Francisco put up a 40-19 (.678) record (top in the National League) and St. Louis was relatively close behind at 31-17 (.646). Versus right-handed starters, however, the Giants were a much more average 54-49 (.524) and the Cardinals were only 57-57 (.500).
It won’t be “easy” for Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and Anibal Sanchez to navigate through either of these lineups, but these are the sort of trends that are encouraging to see. It appears that dominant right-handed pitching can beat either team, and dominant right-handed pitching is what the Tigers have.