Doug Fister takes the mound for the Tigers looking to salvage a split in San Francisco. Madison Bumgarner will start for the Giants.
Series: 1-0, San Francisco
Time/Place: 8 p.m., AT&T Park
Ticket info: World Series tickets can be found at TiqIQ
SB Nation Blog: McCovey Chronicles
Media: FOX, Tigers Radio Network
Bruce Bochy's decision to go with Bumgarner over two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum for his Game 2 starter was surprising, but Lincecum made him look brilliant last night with 2 1/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen (more on that below). Bumgarner has struggled in both of his postseason starts, allowing 10 earned runs in just eight innings of work. While some have speculated that he may be hurt, it sounds like Bumgarner was working through a mechanical issue, something that he has dealt with before.
Remember in late 2009 and early 2010, when Bumgarner's velocity was down, and everyone assumed he was hurt because he was a young pitcher? He wasn't hurt. His mechanics were wonky. He found the problem, and the Giants won the World Series.
Somewhere, Tokarz needs new pants.
Whether or not Bumgarner has actually fixed the mechanical issue plaguing his delivery won't be determined until this evening, but it's also worth noting that he hasn't pitched in 11 days.
Throwing a giant monkey wrench into the point made in my previous sentence is Fister, who hasn't pitched in 12 days, but at least Fister was effective. You may remember that he was bailed out by Jhonny Peralta once or twice (along with some help from an umpire) early on, but he rebounded by pitching some excellent ball through his last few innings against the Yankees. Tonight, Fister will need to command the corners in order to ward off the aggressive Giants hitters. If he tries to pull off a Twisted Fister performance like he did in Game 1 of the ALCS, the Tigers could be in trouble.
Yeesh, those were some ugly innings from the Tigers offense. Lincecum faced seven batters, struck out five, and threw just 32 pitches. There's a good chance that he will be available again this evening. Unless the Tigers can figure out how to distinguish between his fastball and changeup (highly unlikely), Lincecum should be able to shut the door again, a la 2011 Alexei Ogando of the Texas Rangers.
As bad as last night was, it was still just one game. As I mentioned yesterday, Barry Zito's tendency to get swings outside of the strike zone is the perfect way to attack this Tigers lineup. Bumgarner isn't that type of pitcher; he can touch 90 mph and he throws more pitches over the plate. Expect the Tiger bats to wake up a bit more tonight, especially early on.
Bumgarner isn't very effective, but the Giants offense keeps on hitting and San Francisco takes a 2-0 series lead.