2012 World Series Preview and Predictions From WhatIfSports.com image

Giants capture second title in three years

World Series crown headed back to San Francisco

By Joel Beall and Jake Westrich - WhatIfSports.com
UPDATE: October 24, 2012

UPDATE: Bruce Bochy announced a Giants rotation featuring Barry Zito in Game 1, Madison Bumgarner in Game 2, Ryan Vogelsong in Game 3 and Matt Cain in Game 4. We re-simulated the series to account for the rotation change.

Our original simulation, available here, predicted the Giants winning 51.8 percent of the time. The most likely outcome had the Giants winning in seven games 18.1 percent of the time. Our simulation engine predicts the new rotation to improve the Giants' odds.

Using our MLB simulation engine we "played" the Detroit Tigers versus the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 best-of-seven World Series 501 times.

In the table below, you will find each team's chances of winning the World Series and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. The most likely scenario is the Giants beating the Tigers in six games 19.2 percent of the time.

World Series - 501 Series Simulations
MatchupWin%4-Games%5-Games%6-Games%7-Games%
Tigers44.94.814.612.812.8
Giants55.17.211.419.217.4

The playoffs, along with politics and pigskin, have ruled our television screens this fall, but another attraction has started to make its presence known on the airwaves: slasher films. With Halloween around the corner, zombies, vampires, serial slayers and other monsters have made their way back into our collective consciousness. And while the holiday and horror genre certainly have their detractors, it appears the Giants have embraced this spooky sentiment with open arms.

Channeling their inner Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, San Francisco just won't go down, evidenced by rising from the dead in two consecutive playoff series. Instead of terrorizing Crystal Lake and Haddonfield, the scenes of the crime have been the Midwestern metropolises of Cincinnati and St. Louis, coming back from a 2-0 deficit versus the Reds in the opening round followed by fighting off elimination in three consecutive contests against the Cards in the National League Championship Series to take the Senior Circuit pennant.

World Series Top ERAs
Player ERA
Justin Verlander 3.71
Madison Bumgarner 4.07
Matt Cain 4.21

The Giants' unearthly revival is not the only supernatural spirit they share with Halloween. Outfielder Hunter Pence's pregame speeches bear resemblance to a man possessed by a demon. The facial hair of relievers Sergio Romo and the injured-but-ever-present Brian Wilson remind one of werewolves. Marco Scutaro's triumphant NLCS performance (14 hits, four ribbies, six runs) is clearly the work of a Faustian deal. Even the team's black-and-orange uniforms evoke the colors of the October festivities. It's a narrative better suited for the "Paranormal Activity" franchise than America's pastime.

However, while slaying such a beast seems like a futile endeavor, the Tigers are armed for such a task. And we do mean "armed," as Detroit boasts baseball's version of cold-blooded villain-hunter Van Helsing in ace Justin Verlander, who is 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA and 0.62 WHIP in 24 1/3 innings this postseason. Verlander is not working alone, as contributions from Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer have correlated to a 1.02 ERA in 62 innings for Motown's starting staff this fall.

In addition to this mound magnificence, the Tigers flaunt a lineup that, much like Freddy Krueger, gives opposing hurlers nightmares. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and All-Star Prince Fielder are the game's best one-two punch, with Austin Jackson (.300/.377/.479 line during the regular season), Delmon Young (.353 average, two home runs, six RBI and six runs in the American League Championship Series) and hard-hitting Jhonny Peralta helping out the cause. Moreover, the Tigers have already proven they are impervious to menacing environments, playing in the mausoleum known as new Yankee Stadium, as well as O.co Coliseum, whose patrons occasionally resemble those at a haunted house.

With Game 6 of the World Series falling on, you guessed it, Halloween night, which team emerges victorious in the latest edition of the Fall Classic? Thanks to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, we have the ability to break the series down game-by-game. Check below to see the results:

World Series Game 1
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers890Boxscore
Giants2110Simulate Game
WP: Justin Verlander LP: Barry Zito
Player of the Game: Justin Verlander - 9.0 IP, 11 H, 2 R, 10 Ks
Top BA - Giants
Player Batting Average
Marco Scutaro .356
Buster Posey .336
Angel Pagan .316

Showing little rust from their five-day respite after defeating the Yankees last Thursday, the Detroit bats drew initial blood, scoring five runs against San Fran starter Barry Zito to pave the way to an 8-2 victory.

The Tigers wasted little time making their presence known, with Omar Infante scoring on a double steal in the top of the first. The Giants would answer in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly from Pablo Sandoval, but the tie was quickly erased with a four-run fourth for Motor City, highlighted by triples from Jackson and Andy Dirks. Fielder would get in on the three-bag barrage with a run-scoring triple in the seventh, and the Tigers tacked on two more in the eighth off an Infante single.

Though he was roughed up for 11 hits, Verlander submitted another postseason gem, going the distance for a complete game of two-run ball.

World Series Game 2
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers9142Boxscore
Giants141Simulate Game
WP: Doug Fister LP: Madison Bumgarner
Player of the Game: Delmon Young - 2-5, 4 RBI, HR

Have to admire the hubris of the Giants. They have discovered a winning formula in the playoffs, and apparently are proceeding with the "If it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality. How else could you validate San Francisco's 9-1 beatdown at the hands of Detroit in Game 2, putting the Giants in a familiar hole?

Madison Bumgarner was the victim of Detroit's plate dexterity, allowing six runs in the third inning, with Infante continuing his hot streak with a two-run triple, followed by Young sending a shot to the bleachers in left field for a grand salami.

That would be more than enough support for Tigers right-hander Fister, who one-upped his comrade Verlander by posting a complete game with just one run surrendered.

World Series Game 3
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Giants11171Boxscore
Tigers8140Simulate Game
WP: Tim Lincecum LP: Joaquin Benoit SV: Sergio Romo
Player of the Game: Buster Posey - 4-5, 5 RBI, HR

Though a cold wind blew from the Lake Erie front, the bats of both clubs caught fire in Game 3, as the teams combined for 19 runs and 31 hits. The Giants would strike the scoreboard first off an RBI single from Buster Posey, but the Tigers responded with eight unanswered runs in the next four innings off Giants arm Ryan Vogelsong, and with a 8-1 lead heading into the seventh, it appeared the Giants would be facing a 3-0 deficit.

Yet Bruce Bochy's company would not go quietly into the night, responding with three runs in the seventh, five runs in the eighth and two insurance scores in the ninth to come out on top 11-8. MVP candidate Posey led the charge with a two-run bomb in the seventh and a two-RBI base knock in the eight, giving the catcher five ribbies on the day.

Though the Tigers suffered a stomach-punch loss, Jim Leyland could take solace in Cabrera awakening from his World Series slumber, as the slugger contributed two hits and three RBI in Game 3.

World Series Game 4
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Giants571Boxscore
Tigers482Simulate Game
WP: George Kontos LP: Max Scherzer SV: Santiago Casilla
Player of the Game: Hunter Pence - 2-4, 3 RBI, 2 HR

What started out as a pitcher's duel between studs Matt Cain and Max Scherzer quickly escalated to a display of fireworks in the latter innings, with the teams combining for nine runs in the seventh and eighth innings. But thanks to Hunter Pence, the Giants have tied the series 2-2 with a 5-4 conquest in Game 4.

After holding the San Francisco bats at bay, Scherzer relinquished a solo shot to Pence in the top of the seventh, but minimalized the damage by striking out Brandon Crawford and getting Gregor Blanco and Angel Pagan to pop out. Better yet, Detroit catcher Alex Avila gave Scherzer some breathing room with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, swinging the Big Mo in Detroit's corner.

Alas, that rabble-rouser Posey would strike again, this time with a two-run triple in the top of the eighth, and Pence ended Scherzer's night by driving in Posey with his second long ball of the contest.

Avila retorted with a liner to right that drove in Fielder and Dirks, but Detroit could muster no more off relievers George Kontos and Santiago Casilla. Not helping Motown matters is the combined slump of bashers Fielder (.200) and Cabrera (.176), who finished 0-for-8 on the night.

World Series Game 5
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Giants250Boxscore
Tigers161Simulate Game
WP: George Kontos LP: Justin Verlander SV: Sergio Romo
Player of the Game: Brandon Crawford - 2-3, 2 RBI, HR

So much for defending home turf.

Backed by a commendable effort from Zito (6 2/3 innings, six hits, one run) and a timely solo jack by Crawford, the Giants sit just a game away from clinching their second Fall Classic crown in three years.

Despite pitching his second complete game of the World Series and yielding just one run, Verlander gets the tough loss, as a miscue from Dirks in the second inning allowed Pence to reach base and consequently score off a single from Crawford. The shortstop added his second RBI of the game in the eighth with a blast to right field, negating Avisail Garcia's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh. Romo worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the Series, sending the Giants back to the City by the Bay with champagne-popping aspirations on their mind.

World Series Game 6
TeamsRHEWIS Interactive
Tigers180Boxscore
Giants581Simulate Game
WP: George Kontos LP: Doug Fister
Player of the Game: Aubrey Huff - 1-1, 2 RBI, Drives in Game-Winning Run

We would like to tell you the final meeting between the Tigers and Giants was an epic, back-and-forth battle that lasted long into the San Francisco night, with an ending that rivaled The Natural. Unfortunately, while sports serve as our culture's greatest theater, such a Hollywood finish was not in the script.

While the Tigers took an early lead with a run-scoring triple from Dirks in the fourth, a five-run seventh inning from the Giants put San Francisco ahead, and solid bullpen performances from Kontos and Casilla put Detroit on ice for good, as the Giants take home the 2012 title.

Top BA - Tigers
Player Batting Average
Miguel Cabrera .323
Andy Dirks .308
Austin Jackson .305

Bouncing back from a forgettable foray in Game 2, Bumgarner went six innings, giving up just one unearned run while striking out seven. Sitting atop the San Francisco lineup, Pagan, Scutaro and Kung Fu Panda paced the Giants with five hits and three RBI, with pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff contributing a clutch two-run single.

Proving the NLCS was no fluke, Scutaro continued his plate proficiency with a .444 average and five RBI during the Series, while Posey finished with a respectable .348 batting mark. Reliever Kontos ended up with three victories for the Giants, holding down a 1.29 ERA in his appearances. In the losing effort, Infante (.423) and Dirks (.360) were the catalysts for the Tigers, although the club was undone by putrid performances from Fielder (.227) and Cabrera (.200).

As alluded to above, the Giants have made a living coming back from the dead, not only in the playoffs, but as far back as the dog days of summer after the Los Angeles Dodgers overhauled their rosters with stars. Turns out they were trick-or-treating us all along.

Create your own World Series Dream Team from WhatIfSports.com.

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Joel Beall is the Assistant Content Manager for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jbeall@whatifsports.com.

Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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