World Series Forecast

Here are the forecaster’s problems.

The Detroit Tigers’ pitching dominance over the New York Yankees – the .144 OBA over four gruesome games – is not the indicator that you might think. The Yankees have been aging rapidly for three seasons, and they had just barely scratched out a victory over a Baltimore team without line-up depth or a dominant starting pitcher. Joe Girardi made a fateful remark in mid-series, about how his hitters had to “adjust” – manager-speak for telling them they had to stop going up there expecting the room service fastballs they would get from 60% of the pitchers they faced during the regular season. Yes, the Tiger pitching was superb. Yes, we all spent too much time talking about the Yanks’ demise. But between the two extremes it is almost impossible to get a good gauge on just how good the survivors are.

The Giants’ comebacks against the Reds and Cardinals were historic and epic. And they are also not the indicators you might think. Both losing teams have a lot of talent but neither was a juggernaut and the fact is that San Francisco’s valiant efforts have deranged their own rotation. It is stand-up-and-cheer heart-warming to see Marco Scutaro and Barry Zito finally make a World Series but it is imperative to remember that they are not going to win the World Series by themselves. 2012 was the second time in his career that the 36-year old Scutaro has batted better than .282 in a major league season and the third time he has hit more than one homer in a major league season.

As to Zito, the Giants could not have done it without him but his 15 wins divided up as follows:

Zito Vs. Playoff Teams (4-2)

Vs. Atlanta Braves     2-0

Vs. Oakland A’s         1-0

Vs. St. Lou. Cards      1-0

Vs. Tex. Rangers       0-1

Vs. Cin. Reds              0-1

Zito Vs. Non-Playoff Teams (11-6)

Vs. Az D-Backs          4-0

Vs. LA Dodgers          3-2

Vs. Col. Rockies         2-0

Vs. Chi. Cubs              1-0

Vs. Pitt. Pirates          1-0

Vs. Mil. Brewers        0-1

Vs. L.A. Angels         0-1

Vs. Hou. Astros         0-1

Vs. N.Y. Mets             0-1

These are the simplest of analytics here but they are offered simply to imply one fact about the World Series: drop the story lines of the first two rounds of the playoffs, and judge the Classic on who has the better, sounder team.

The Tigers have a confused bullpen, which reduces it to the level of the Giants when Santiago Casilla failed – and the Giants fixed that situation within hours with Sergio Romo. The Giants have a confused rotation, and you can’t straighten that out in anything less than a week. The Tigers have the kind of offense that is not seen by National League pitchers and its most potent bats (Cabrera and Fielder) live to butcher off-speed left-hand pitching like Zito.

There is also Justin Verlander in this equation and if the Giants can’t stop him at least once, the  Fister/Sanchez/Scherzer trio have only to produce two solid starts.

I’m thinking the Tigers could do this in five. If the Giants stage an upset – especially if they come from behind to do it – they will earn (and I will happily crown them) the single-season comeback kings of the game’s modern history. Unless one of the troubled starters (Lincecum? Bumgarner? turns in an MVP-level performance, I just don’t think they have a path to do it this time.


  1. Michael D.

    With all due respect, love your politics, and miss your intellect and point of view on the t.v., but you couldn’t be more wrong about the 2012 World Series. It will be the Giants in six. I accept liberal or conservative bias as a way of life in the US. But east coast bias when it comes to baseball will not be tolerated! Cheers, Keith. Hope to see you hosting your own show soon.

  2. Cher in AZ

    Great points, Keith. I’d love to say I have a point of view on this one but I’m on the fence. Usually it irritates me not to have an opinion. It will be a solid series either way.

  3. mary_caruso

    Oh my! That’s a tough one to decide. My eight ball is stuck, the tarot cards are scattered, and my Ouija board is tilted so I really can’t depend on any of them to predict this outcome. My best guess would be my instinct which isn’t very sharp concerning baseball but here goes…
    The Tigers may be at a disadvantage in that they’ve had a lot of ‘down-time’ because of their early win over the Yankees. Also they really didn’t have much of a competition with the Yankees who are dwindling, especially in batting. Being treated to an early victory was not to their advantage. This may cause some lag in the first game, but they do have some come back power.
    If on the other hand, the Giants come out swinging and gain an early lead in runs, they usually do better. That’s a big if. The momentum is with them since they are coming off that dramatic win against the Cardinals. They did prevail against them in their winning streak. But can they maintain that sort of energy and momentum?
    I say the Tigers might come on in the first couple of games. This might inspire the Giants to fight harder and do their winning ways again. I hope the Giants will come back strong. But I wouldn’t begrudge the Tigers either. May the best team win and I am looking forward to the contest!

  4. EarlNash (@EarlNash)

    If we have three Verlander/Zito match-ups, the Tigers will only need to get lucky for one out of the other four games, If Cain wins both his starts, it gives the Gigantes 2 Ws against three Verlander Ws; that’s a 3-2 score with 2 games left; the G’s will need to win both, while Da-trite needs one out of two for the magic #4…
    That looks like the Tigers in 6 games.

  5. SamYanksGiantsMets

    Keith tends to write off the Giants (like he did with Vogelsong being chosen as a 2011 All-Star). In March I predicted the Giants would beat the Yankees in 7, avenging their 1962 loss fifty years later (no Bobby Richardson in the bottom of the 9th this time). By Yankees, I actually meant Phil Coke and Austin Jackson. Just kidding. Remember, the Yankees hit .201 against the Rangers in 2010 and the Rangers hit over .300– then Texas ran into the Giants. As for the Yankees getting old– did they age 20 years in 2 weeks? They were playing good baseball in September. And a lot of the lineups struggled in the playoffs. The Giants (other than Panda and Scutaro) did. So it’s not about old age. It’s just baseball. Go Giants!

  6. Pingback: The World Series starts tonight « Countdown with Keith Olbermann – Unofficial Fanblog
  7. Josh G

    BASEBALL BASEBALL BASEBALL! Talk about BASEBALL or go away. Please… this is a great blog about baseball. I beg you, go away… baseball.

  8. walt kovacs

    so tigers are gonna win the next 4?
    there is no stat for heart
    something that the great verlander doesnt have and the giants have tons of

  9. Michael Green

    Look, this is a site about baseball. If Bill O’Reilly loved baseball and did baseball posts that said nothing about politics, what he says should be treated on its merits. So why don’t the morons who come here to attack Olbermann go back to their KKK meetings and leave the rest of us alone so we can enjoy the greatest game?

  10. walt kovacs

    ko proves once again that he knows jack shit about baseball

    i expect a full printed apology and a promise never to write about the sport again

    upset? you dick

    • patriciaellynpowell

      Walt, I think his personal feelings about the Yankees and the Giants get mixed in with his posts. The heart can almost always steer the head away from reality. 😉

  11. John

    “For these two reasons alone (we haven’t even mentioned Cliff Lee) I like the Rangers and fast: five or six games.” – Keith Olbermann, October 25, 2010

    “I’m thinking the Tigers could do this in five.” – Keith Olbermann, October 23,2012

    As mentioned previously, the continuing problem here is picking the team with the best PLAYERS as opposed to picking the team with the best TEAM.

    Try to avoid the hat trick.

  12. Michael Green

    John, it’s always fun when the experts are wrong. And I don’t say this to knock Keith. But there was no WAY the Giants were supposed to sweep the Tigers. As a real expert, Yogi, once said, good pitching stops good hitting, and vice versa.

  13. Emerson Burkett

    Well Keith,
    You forgot an important ingredient when you forecast the World Series outcome; you forgot to include heart in the equation, and as we all witnessed, the SF Giants have a TON of Heart. SF lays down for no team. GO GIANTS!!!!
    Emerson, A Huge Giants fan and a Keith fan (except when you diss the Giants).

  14. moonzrock

    As a 50 year Giants fan, I want to thank the team for the wild ride!
    And, thanks fo faux sports for the barrage of promos, plugs and non-baseball bull. It cheapened the broadcast as much as the lame announcers.. .

    • Emerson Burkett

      That is why I record the game, delay starting to watch, so I can fast forward through the Fox Bullshit. 37 minuted of commercials and talking heads before the first pitch is thrown. At least they did not constantly put down the Giants and San Francisco, like they did in 2010; totally out of place in baseball, keep your politics to your Faux news (AKA Republican Re-election Central).

  15. walt kovacs

    fox, who on their fake news channel, like to go out of their way to attack people for being unamerican, for four nights, turned the anthem into a commercial…nice

  16. Mary Beth Brown

    Dear god. If this is the level of interest in the Giants-Tigers WS, no wonder the ratings sucked! Thank you for the pre-emptive crowning of the Giants as comeback champs – now they’re WS champs. As for your prediction, Bumgarner had a terrific start and what about Lincecum out of the pen? Back to the Timmy of old. Cain’s no decision in the Series was a typical Cain game – well-pitched, the best hitter got him once, the Giants gave him terrific defense but not quite enough run support for the win. He’d have long since been a 20 game winner and a Cy Young nominee with decent run support over the years.

    To the three (I think it was that many!) commenters who responded to the post, thank you, and I hope the Giants victory was interesting to you. The rest of you? If you don’t give a good goddamn about baseball, get the hell out of my pixels!

    • Emerson Burkett

      Thank you, there is way too little baseball and way to much BS in the comments section of this Baseball Blog. Go GIANTS!!!

  17. Tim Taylor

    Giants sweep. Nice call KO. SF best organization in MLB. Seriously, but East Coast will never recognize such. Wish you still on MSNBC.
    Tim, San Francisco

  18. Michael Green

    Tim, you should be lording it over all of us! But this World Series was also a reminder that pitching and defense are really what matters.

    • Tim Taylor

      And remember we lived through the same just two years ago, so we knew what was possible. Though to be down 0-2 and then 1-3 sure was tough on the heart…

      • Emerson Burkett

        SF GIANTS never say die. Teamwork Rules; thank god we got over the Bonds era in SF and got back to team baseball. That is what beat the Pirates, teamwork. Did you get a load of Prince Fielders reactions? Priceless! That is the difference between having some “super stars”, out for themselves and some “Quiet Super Stars” who play for their Teammates and their Team (like Buster Posey, Matt Cain, etc.) and go about their business and play good baseball.

  19. bradley emden

    Just like we all knew the democrats were going to win, despite all the fixing of the elections done by the other side, the republicans remained delusional. Similarly the giants fans knew they were going to win this one. You made a good case for Detroit, but in hindsight you can re-evaluate, hopefully better than the right wing is re-evaluating. They are still delusional. I know that you are not. You made a logical case for Detroit. At least it was not a case made from a literal interpretation of the new testament.


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