The fun and games of NLCS Game 7 are officially over – it’s time to turn our attention towards Game 1 of the World Series.

This certainly isn’t the same pitching staff that anchored the 2010 World Series team: Tim Lincecum was the Game 1 and Game 5 starter, with Matt Cain following him admirably in Game 2. Jonathan Sanchez took the baton in Game 3, then Madison Bumgarner threw a gem in Game 4. The Giants’ biggest disappointment, Barry Zito, was left off of the playoff roster completely.

And, oh, how they change. After winning 15 games this season and hitting his career apex in Game 5 of the NLCS, Zito will take on Detroit Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the World Series today. Not that Zito would have gotten this start had the rest of the Giants’ staff been on regular rest, but opportunity has presented itself to the 126-million-dollar-man over and over again this season. Nearly every time, Zito has answered the call. Now his name is atop the marquee, with Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Cain to follow him.

How the Tigers stack up historically against Zito:

Player AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO Avg. OBP SLG OPS
Jackson 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333
Infante 20 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 .150 .150 .150 .300
Cabrera 8 2 0 0 0 2 2 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
Fielder 18 3 1 0 1 5 0 5 .167 .211 .389 .599
Young 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 .677 .677 1.000 1.667
Peralta 14 3 0 0 1 2 2 3 .214 .294 .429 .723
Dirks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Laird 15 3 2 0 0 1 1 4 .200 .250 .333 .583
Avila 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Kelly 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Raburn 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Santiago 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Tigers have seen quite a bit of Zito, including Omar Infante, who is 3-for-20, Prince Fielder, who is 3-for-18 with a double and a home run, and Jhonny Peralta, who is 3-for-14 with two walks and a homer as well.

The good news is that none of the Tigers that have actually faced Zito are hitting over .250 against him. The better news: there’s no sign of Victor Martinez, who is 9-for-23 (.391 BA) lifetime against the Giants’ lefty.

The Giants have seen even less of Verlander:

Player AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO Avg. OBP SLG OPS
Pagan 5 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 .400 .400 .800 1.200
Scutaro 23 5 1 1 0 0 1 8 .217 .250 .348 .598
Sandoval 1 1 0 1 0 3 0 0 1.000 1.000 3.000 4.000
Posey 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 1.000 .000 1.000
Pence 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Belt 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Blanco 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Crawford 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Huff 22 4 0 1 0 3 2 4 .182 .240 .273 .513
Nady 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000

 

Small sample sizes, meet smaller sample sizes. The Giants who has the most experience against Verlander is Marco Scutaro, who is 5-for-23 lifetime against the Tigers’ ace. He does have a triple, but more surprisingly, Verlander has struck him out eight times. Pagan’s 2-for-5 is somewhat promising, as is Sandoval’s triple in the All Star Game, but beyond that, we’d just be grasping at straws.

The bottom line is only three players off the Giants’ bench have really seen Verlander. He is another in a long list of starters that most people believe the Giants won’t be able to crack. Then again, this Giants’ postseason has been all about defying odds, and they’ll have to do it at least one more time, starting tonight at AT&T Park.