World Series: Tigers choose Verlander to start Game 1, while Giants turn to Zito


Two years after being left off the postseason roster, Barry Zito will start Game 1 of the World Series for the Giants. (Kevin C. Cox/GETTY IMAGES)
October 23, 2012

The Detroit Tigers were rested enough that they could choose anyone to start Game 1 of the World Series, and the decision was obvious: right-hander Justin Verlander, the best starting pitcher in this postseason. The San Francisco Giants played until Monday night, so their decision was more limited. And Manager Bruce Bochy went with one of the heroes of the National League Championship Series: left-hander Barry Zito, who was left off the postseason roster just two years ago.

“It’s not important to reflect right now,” Zito said. “There’s work to do.”

Both Bochy and Detroit Manager Jim Leyland have their rotations set for the first four games. Leyland will go with right-hander Doug Fister, who has given up two runs in 131 / 3 innings in his two starts this postseason, in Game 2. He will be opposed by Madison Bumgarner, who hasn’t pitched since he gave up six runs in 32 / 3 innings in the first game of the NLCS against St. Louis.

That decision leaves Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner who started Game 4 of the NLCS, in the bullpen.

“Madison has had a break, which we wanted to give him,” Bochy said. “It’s allowed him to get some bullpens in, work on some things. I know he got off his good mechanics there a little bit.”

“As far as Timmy, we just think he’s better served for this club at this point helping us out of the bullpen. He gives us another weapon out there. He’s resilient.”

Leyland will counter with Anibal Sanchez — who, like Fister, gave up two runs in 131 / 3 postseason innings — in Game 3 with Max Scherzer to follow in Game 4. Scherzer starts last, Leyland said, because he’s had “a little bit of a tired arm,” though he allowed just one earned run in 12 postseason innings.

NOT AT HOME: Verlander is well aware that, had he not allowed five runs in an inning of work when he started the All-Star Game in July, the World Series might have started in Detroit.

“I treated it almost like I was coming out of the bullpen,” Verlander said. “. . . It was just a different scenario altogether. Do I wish it would have worked out a little bit better and we’d be at home right now? Absolutely. But it didn’t, and we’re here.” . . .

The MVP of the All-Star Game was Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was suspended in August for 50 games for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Cabrera, though, could have been activated this postseason – and the Giants have elected not to.

“The guys that we had been putting out there have done the job,” Bochy said. “They’ve earned this, and this is the way we’re going to move forward.”

Marlins fire Guillen

The lingering backlash caused by Ozzie Guillen’s praise of Fidel Castro contributed to another Miami Marlins managerial shakeup Tuesday. Guillen was fired after only one year with the team, undone by too many losses and too many ill-advised remarks. . . .

Two days after announcing the hiring of John Farrell, their pitching coach from 2007-10, the Red Sox introduced him at a news conference. He succeeds Bobby Valentine, who was fired after one year and a 69-93 record. . . .

White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn was named by The Sporting News the AL comeback player of the year.

— Associated Press

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