Posey was obviously the better weapon in the regular season as he is a front-runner for the MVP award. His production in the postseason, though, has been sub-par. He has hit a couple of home runs, but his overall production has been poor. Avila's, though, is just as bad. He crashed down to Earth hard after his breakout season last year.
This situation is very similar to first base. Fielder was obviously the better player this season but has had a mediocre postseason and really hasn't stepped up in any way. Belt hit a home run against the Cardinals, but also hasn't had a good showing overall in the playoffs. In the end, you have to give the nod to Fielder due to his greater potential to put in a great series.
No one has been hotter over the last month than Marco Scutaro. The Giants ended up getting a steal when they traded with the Rockies to acquire the second basemen that they gravely needed. He was a catalyst for the Reds comeback against the Cardinals and earned the NLCS MVP award with his strong work at the plate and in the field. Infante had a standard season and has hit for decent average. He is a great presence at the top of the order, but isn't turning anyone's heads.
It's a no-brainer who had the better season. Cabrera won the Triple Crown and battled with Mike Trout for the American League MVP. Sandoval missed a large chunk of the season with a broken hamate bone. In the playoffs, though, Sandoval has been red hot. At the time of this writing, he is 2-2 in game 1 with two home runs. I think Miguel breaks out, but this one is far more even than you think.
Brandon Crawford has been pretty good with the glove this season, but hasn't shown any offensive proficiency. Jhonny, on the otherhand, has countered from a meager season at the plate to hit pretty well for the Tigers. He is a steady hand in the field and can hit for pretty good pop.
With the exception of Hunter Pence, both teams feature outfield made up of fairly unheralded players. The difference between the two, though, is the Tiger's outfield bats. Both teams get solid defense, but Detroit's young trio is surprisingly skillful with the sticks. The Giants have two light-hitting speedsters in Blanco and Pagan and a power hitter in Pence.
In the games in Detroit, we know that Delmon Young will get the at bats as the designated hitter, but the Giants don't have a solid option to rely on. Theriot and Arias have been hitting well this season and in the postseason, but they are not guarantees to give you productive at bats. Both teams are fairly shallow in terms of bench options, but the speed of Quintin Berry could make him useful in pinch-running situations.
Verlander is in the process of getting shelled in the first game, which could be a sign that he is reverting to his career postseason stats. For some reason, he has never been a very good option in the playoffs, but has been lights out this year. The Tigers biggest strength is their rotation, as the number show. All four Tigers starters have been dynamite in the postseason so far and will pitch in two notorious pitcher's parks. The Giants have two solid starters in Vogelsong and Cain, but have been shaky outside of those two. Zito has been solid so far, but has been inconsistent ever since the ink dried on his San Francisco contract. Bumgarner has been rotten in his two starts. Tim Lincecum is an option to start, but has been better suited out of the bullpen. If I'm putting my money on a group of starters, it's Detroit's four.
This is where things really get interesting. Disregarding Mota and Mijares because, let's face it, they aren't going to factor into the World Series, The Giants have a fantastic bullpen. Lincecum has been an electric arm, but hasn't been shut down. Kontos is a role player who probably won't see much time. Romo, Lopez, Affeldt, and Casilla, though, are a fantastic group to lean on in late inning games. If they get the lead, there's a good chance they won't cough it up. The Tigers have the opposite situation. The top guys in their pen, Valverde and Benoit, have been poor in the postseason. Their minor characters have been lights out in the postseason. There is a decent chance that Coke, Dotel, Smyly, and Porcello revert to their season stats, but the X factor for the Tigers could be Al Alburquerque. He was a fill-in closer last season, but lost time due to injury this year. He could definitely play a big part in the Tigers' success if the starters get pulled.
As you can see, these are two really evenly matched teams. More than ever before, this is an incredibly hard postseason to call, especially since no one predicted these two teams to make it this far. Since it's a lock that Detroit loses tonight, I'll predict they win the next two, lose at least one in Detroit, and Verlander wins his next start. That gives the Giants two more elimination games to further their amazing run, but I think the pixie dust has run out.
Prediction: Tigers in six.