Crow. Humble pie. Their own words. That’s what a vast majority of the sports world is eating right now after Game 1 of the World Series. It seemed everyone was predicting that Justin Verlander, that dominant presence on the mound, would bury the Giants. Tiger fans, who incessantly tell you how great and infallible he is until you get ill, have to feel pretty bad right now. Their hero who they believed could not do any wrong or strike out less then 10 guys each game appeared merely mortal last night. His line:
4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR
He got out-dueled by Barry Zito, Barry Flippin’ Zito,who apparently has done a time warp back to his 2002 Cy Young form. Not only that but Zito got an RBI single off of Verlander! Giving up such a hit to the opposing pitcher has to sting. Not nearly as much as the 2 home runs he gave up to Pablo Sandoval. Going yard on his first three World Series at bats, it was Sandoval who had the historic night, becoming only the 4th player ever to hit 3 homers in a WS game. The other three? George Herman Ruth, Reginald M Jackson and Albert Pujols. Truly great company.
What makes Verlander’s meltdown even more glaring is the lengths Detroit fans and some in the media are going in order to make excuses. The most crass one I’ve come across is to suggest Sandoval’s historic feat was only possible because he was juicing, which in and of itself should tell you all you need to know about those who would even suggest it. Another one is that the Giants just got lucky against Verlander and have been this whole postseason. Really? Does winning 3 straight elimination games twice sound like luck? This is not to say that the Giants will go one to win the Series, as Detroit could take Game 2 and things would be all knotted up. The most important takeaway is that Detroit’s myth of invincibility, especially when it comes to Verlander, has been shattered in a big way. The Tigers’ ace is human, just like everyone else in the dugout. I suppose if throwing around ridiculous suggestions and making excuses helps Tiger fans and those in the media sleep at night, then whatever they need to do. Just don’t continue to discount these Giants. They have momentum in a big way and know how to defy the odds.