SAN FRANCISCO -- What's momentum worth in baseball? The stat guys say there is no such thing, that it's all imaginary, but there is something odd and powerful going on with the Giants right now.
Barry Zito is a superstar. Pablo Sandoval is a Verlander-killer. And the Giants' wave gets stronger and stronger. Is that meaningless? Only if you really can't bring yourself to admit it.
Justin Verlander just got ripped apart and knocked out of the game by the Giants in 4 surreal innings, which climaxed with Zito himself lining an RBI single off of a Verlander fastball.
By the way, this is the fourth straight playoff game in which a Giants starting pitcher has driven in a run—which started with Zito himself in Game 5 against St. Louis.
I thought the Giants were going to win this series even if they lost two games to Verlander, and now they've already got him flustered—which has clearly put a shake into the entire Tigers team.
Detroit looks as lifeless as St. Louis did two days ago in Game 7. And that was pretty lifeless. And this is a game the Tigers had to believe was theirs to win.
It started with Sandoval's long HR to center field in the first on a high Verlander fastball, continued through Angel Pagan's double off of the third-base bag in the third inning, and then (after a visit by the pitching coach that Verlander did not seem too pleased with) Sandoval's second homer, on a flip shot over
UPDATE: Sandoval has since hit HR No. 3 off of Al Alburquerque that made it 6-0.
That got the Detroit bullpen going. In the third inning. With Verlander pitching.
In all, he threw 38 pitches in that unbelievable inning. He threw 98 pitches in his four-inning stint... which means Verlander almost certainly can't be brought back on short rest for Game 4.
Game 5, if necessary, will be Verlander vs. Zito again. I can't believe Detroit likes any of this right now.