There were many predictions being tossed around in the minutes before Game 1's first pitch, but what most folks generally agreed upon was that Tigers ace Justin Verlander would have little-to-no problem with this Giants lineup. By the same token, there was no chance (right?) that Barry Zito, who pitched a $100 million game in saving San Francisco's skin in Game 5 of the NLCS, could possibly repeat the same delicate command and mixing of speeds that he displayed in that virtuoso performance. As it turns out, Verlander was out after four innings, having given up five runs on 98 pitches, while Zito baffled Detroit's lineup all evening, needing only 81 pitches to breeze through five and two-thirds. Three home runs from Pablo Sandoval supplied more than enough offense and the Giants pulled out a dominating, almost easy 8-3 win over the Tigers to take a 1-0 lead in this 2012 World Series.
The game really got away from Verlander in the bottom of the third. After allowing a solo home run to Sandoval in the first, the third inning saw Verlander allow an RBI single to Marco Scutaro, who may be playing better than any baseball player fathomable right now. That brought Sandoval to the plate for his second at-bat and he jacked a 2-0, 95-mph, low-and-away fastball over the wall for a 4-0 Giants lead. The Giants then turned a fluky 2-4 double play in the next frame, when Delmon Young chopped a ball in front of home plate that Buster Posey alertly grabbed, tagged Young out before he could move, and threw to second where Prince Fielder was doubled up. Zito followed up that bit of luck with an RBI single to left in the fourth inning. It was only Verlander's 90th pitch of the night, but the end was nigh. The crowd started chanting "Barry!" which so utterly confused Tim McCarver that he could only reference Manilow instead of Bonds when prompted by Joe Buck. It was another surreal moment in an altogether surreal night of ball.
Now the Tigers pit Doug Fister against the Giants' Madison Bumgarner in Game 2 on Thursday night. Detroit's offense showed little in the opener, and they'll need to get hits early against a rested Bumgarner, who's been shaky as of late. If the Giants can pull off another W, they'll likely face Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 in Detroit on Saturday night. He'll face off against Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched huge in a Game 6 win over the Cardinals. This series is, of course, far from over, but Game 1 showed us all that, until you play the game, no one knows anything.
What do you think? Are the Tigers toast? Will the Giants blow this lead? WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Fire away.