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World Series Game 1: Tigers at Giants

Oct 24, 2012, 9:00 PM EDT

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Sparkling AT&T Park hosts Game 1 of the Fall Classic tonight.

It's not the World Series that Nationals fans wanted, but it's still a fantastic matchup between two storied franchises with two rabid fan bases and plenty of big names involved that nobody saw coming. (Oh wait, I actually did predict this exact matchup way back on Opening Day! I trust you'll ignore the 27 other predictions I got wrong in that article.)

In one corner stand the AL champion Tigers, pushed to the brink by the A's in the ALDS before they mowed through the Yankees in a four-game ALCS. Detroit, which reached the World Series in 2006 but hasn't won it since 1984, has the best pitcher in the sport on the mound tonight in Justin Verlander, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years in Miguel Cabrera and a really deep lineup that also includes $214 million first baseman Prince Fielder.

In the other corner stand the NL champion Giants, who have merely won six elimination games this month to reach the World Series for the second time in three years. They've got a two-time Cy Young Award winner in Tim Lincecum and the NL batting champ (and perhaps MVP) in Buster Posey, but their biggest contributors so far this postseason have been an obscure second baseman named Marco Scutaro and a couple of resurrected veteran pitchers named Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong.

My three keys to the series: 1) Can Verlander be Verlander, which makes him the most dominant pitcher on the planet? 2) Can Posey and Hunter Pence start driving in runs and take the pressure off Scutaro? 3) Will Detroit's shaky closer situation prove significant, or can Verlander and Co. simply finish what they started and leave Jose Valverde out of the equation altogether?

If you're still having trouble getting over the Nats' NLDS loss from nearly two weeks ago, it's time to turn the TV back on and watch baseball again, because there's still nothing like the Fall Classic (no matter your personal rooting interest). I'll certainly be watching, and I'll share my thoughts right here and in the comments section for anyone who would like to join in…

THE 108TH WORLD SERIES – GAME 1
DETROIT TIGERS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 8:07 p.m. EDT
TV: Fox
Radio: WTEM (980 AM), XM 178
Weather: Sunny, 58 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to CF

TIGERS
CF Austin Jackson
2B Omar Infante
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder

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Mark joins Rob Carlin and Brent Harris every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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