|Justin Verlander and Barry Zito will face off in Game 1 of the World Series. (AP)|
Game 1 of the 2012 World Series features one former Cy Young award winner making $20 million against another former Cy Young award winner making $19 million. A pretty even match-up, right?
Still, looking at their most recent starts, it doesn't seem like there's a big difference. Verlander allowed just three hits and a run over 8 1/3 inning in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Yankees. Zito threw 7 2/3 scoreless with six hits and six strikeouts in his victory over the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS. Verlander only struck out three in his win.
Of course, there are some differences. Verlander was 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA during the season, and his 239 strikeouts led the majors. He also throws 100 mph. Zito was 15-8, his first winning season in six seasons in San Francisco, with a 4.16 ERA. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Zito's fastball and sinker both averaged 84 mph.
Zito vs. Tigers
The Tigers and Giants didn't face each other this season. Zito has faced the Tigers 16 times in his career, going 8-6 with a 2.91 ERA, although 14 of those starts were during his days with the A's from 2000-06. He did face them once as a Giant last season, beating them with six shutout innings. The Tigers managed just five hits. He walked two and struck out one at Comerica Park on July 2, 2011.
Zito was 8-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 17 home starts this season and 7-3 with a 4.34 ERA on the road.
Only five Tigers batters have 10 or more plate appearances against Zito. Omar Infante is just 3-for-20 and Prince Fielder is 3-for-18 with a home run. Jhonny Peralta is 3-for-14 with a homer, and Gerald Laird is 3-for-15 with two doubles. Miguel Carbera is 2-for-8 with two walks against the lefty.
Verlander vs. Giants
Verlander has faced the Giants only once -- June 16, 2008 at AT&T Park. That Giants lineup was Fred Lewis, Ray Durham, Randy Winn, Bengie Molina, Aaron Rowand, John Bowker, Rich Aurillia, Omar Vizquel and Tim Lincecum. Fernando Rodney blew the save for the Tigers, and Keiichi Yabu picked up the win for the Giants. That tells you all you need to know about that game.
The Giants have just seven players who have faced Verlander in a non-exhibition, with Marco Scutaro having seen Verlander the most. In 26 plate appearances, he has five hits, including a double and triple. Aubrey Huff is 3-for-17 against Verlander, and no other Giant has more than five plate appearances against him.
The Giants' Pablo Sandoval hit a bases-loaded triple off Verlander in the All-Star Game this July in Kansas City, while Buster Posey walked against him in that first inning as well. Melky Cabrera, the game's MVP, also singled and scored against Verlander in the All-Star Game but is not on the Giants' postseason roster.