Decision 2006: Who Will Prevail?: The Year of the Tiger

Josh Cohen

As the World Series shifts to St. Louis, the visiting Tigers will come in with momentum in hand following a Game 2, 8-inning gem, by Kenny Rogers. The Tigers look poised to march into St. Louis, take 2 out of 3, and finish off the Cards in Game 6 back in Detroit.

An important reason why the Tigers will win the World Series is a combination of solid, young power hitters and veteran leadership throughout their lineup. At the core of the Detroit Tigers are three veterans who provide essential leadership both in the clubhouse and on the field. Ivan Rodriguez is known as one of the best offensive/defensive catchers of all-time and he has kept his young teammates grounded in the pressure packed environment of the World Series. The Tigers shelled out the bucks to pick up Magglio Ordonez two years ago and it has paid off in a big way this postseason. Ordonez has been great on the field and along with old-timer Placido Polanco, has provided veteran leadership and timely hitting. The Tigers have gotten great play out of their young guys Craig Monroe and Carlos Guillen, and their lineup seems to match up with any pitching staff in baseball.

While the Tigers bats have been a big reason for their success, it is their pitching staff, the most dominant in the majors this season, that will lead them to the promised land. Nate Robertson looked very good in his last start versus the Oakland Athletics, giving up no runs in six innings of work, Jeremy Bonderman has had a very impressive year, amassing 14 victories, and Justin Verlander is the outright favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors in the American League. The Tigers bullpen, led by young stud flamethrower Joel Zumaya has pitched wonderfully, and closer Todd Jones already has 4 saves this postseason. St. Louis star Chris Carpenter, arguably the best pitcher in the NL over the past two seasons, has looked very average in his postseason starts this year, and while Jeff Suppan has pitched well in his previous two starts, I don’t expect him to have much success against a potent Tiger’s lineup in Game 4. All the cards seem to be lined up in favor of the Detroit Tigers, and whether or not they are a team of destiny, it is hard to dispute that they should be anything but favored to win this series.