By: Ishan Goyal
On October 24, the 2012 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series began. This event was a much anticipated culmination of a three week playoff. The month started with the newly introduced wild card matches, followed by division series, championship series, and finally the World Series. The top 10 teams faced off, but they were slowly winnowed down to the best from each league. The San Francisco Giants and their fierce bullpen of pitchers found themselves opposing the Herculean sluggers of the Detroit Tigers. No one could’ve predicted that the Giants would have made it this far after being down in the series to both the Reds and the Cardinals. The success of the Tigers was equally astonishing since their chances of beating the chemistry of the A’s and sweeping the high payroll Yankees were slim. As the teams prepared meticulously, their fans anxiously waited to see who would emerge victorious.
Game one of the 2012 World Series was held in AT&T Park, San Francisco on October 24th. Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, wisely chose to play his veteran pitcher Barry Zito and rest his youngsters. His decisions proved tactical as the Giants bullpen dominated the Tiger Hitters. Star hitters Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder left the field frustrated and disappointed with their poor hitting performances. Even the Tiger’s pitching ace Justin Verlander only managed to last four innings, during which he allowed five runs on six hits. Everything went right for the giants however. Pablo Sandoval hit a record tying three homeruns, raking in several runs and earning himself comparison to hall of famers like Babe Ruth. Even Tigers Manager Jim Leyland remarked in a press interview “I think you start with giving the Giants hitters credit. They did a good job. They’re very pesky, and obviously the big guy had one of those unbelievable nights that happens once in a while in a World Series. What a night for him.” The final score of this game was an 8-3 blowout in favor of the Giants.
As the night came to an end, San Francisco fans partied in joy at the victory and eagerly anticipated game two while the Tigers crew gloomily accepted the loss and began to analyze what went wrong. Game two would be crucial to both teams. The Giants wanted to capitalize on their home crowd while the Tigers didn’t want to fall into an insurmountable 0-2 hole. Madison Bumgarner of the Giants took the mound in game two against the Tigers pitcher, Doug Fister. Not surprisingly, the night proved to be a battle of the pitchers with only seven hits given up. The Giants scored their only runs from Brandon Crawford’s double that cashed in Gregor Blanco’s previous single and a sacrifice fly in the eigth inning. With their solid defense, the Giants clinched a 2-0 lead in the series. Bumgarner who had managed to work out the few kinks in him game told the press after the game that, “It definitely feels a whole lot better than having our backs against the wall, but you can’t relax. We’ve got to keep pushing.” The Giants hoped to maintain their momentum as they traveled to Detroit for their next match.
Game three would decide if Detroit could shift the Giant wave that was sweeping them away. Few teams have ever come back from a 0-3 deficit so statistically; this was Detroit’s last chance. Even Giants manager Bruce Bochy grudgingly admitted to the Associated Press before the game “I’ll say this: This club is playing well.” Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong took the mound with an already successful post season. This game only added to his merit as he was able to shut out the Tigers with the help of Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo. Even though the final score was 2-0, the Tigers had several chances to take the lead. With the bases loaded, star player Miguel Cabrera was unable to cash in and other hitters shared similar frustration with several double plays and strikeouts. The Giants not only secured a domineering 3-0 lead, but they also made history as the first team to pitch consecutive shutouts in the World Series since the Baltimore Orioles in 1966. While the Giants prospered, the once fearsome Tigers were only hitting 0.165 in their past three games and had only totaled a meager three runs. The Tigers could only hope at this point as Prince Fielder remarked after the game “The key for us is to win tomorrow and then the next day and the next day and the next day. We can’t lose.”
With game four, the Giants looked to finish their post season with a bang and win the series while the Tigers just tried to avoid a sweep. For Detroit, game four was more about maintaining their pride as a baseball club than actually trying to win the series. This would be their last game of the season if they failed to leap out of their hitting slump. The Tigers came out roaring and they refused to go away despite Buster Posey’s clutch go ahead homer. The game was pushed into extra innings where Marco Scutaro hit a single that allowed Ryan Theriot to score from second base. Sergio Romo closed out the top of the Detroit lineup, catching Miguel Cabrera looking for his third out.
The Giants had done it. They had won twice in the past three years and established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Out of joy, Hunter Pence hollered “World Series Champions!” as he ran towards his teammates. The Giants had won every aspect of the series. Their bullpen was clutch, their defense was almost impeccable, and their batters were incredible. All these contributions added to the Giants sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series. The team looks to continue improving its roster with some offseason trades and hopefully next year they will continue to represent the Bay Area as a powerhouse in Major League Baseball.