DETROIT (Reuters) - After losing the first two games of the World Series in San Francisco, the Detroit Tigers are delighted to be hosting Game Three at Comerica Park on Saturday.
The Tigers are undefeated in four post-season games at Comerica in 2012 and their 50 home wins in the regular season earned them a tie for the second-best record in the majors.
”It’s a lot of fun playing here,“ Tigers catcher Alex Avila told reporters before the team’s workout on Friday. ”When we’re going well, when we have those big innings and the crowd gets into it and stuff like that, it’s a great feeling.
“It’s all about comfort, really, and guys when they’re comfortable normally tend to play better.”
Anything other than a victory on Saturday would be considered a disaster as the Tigers cannot afford to fall 3-0 behind in the best-of-seven series.
San Francisco shut down the Tigers’ potent bats during the first two games and now find themselves two wins away from their second title in three years.
Anibal Sanchez, 1-1 with a 1.35 earned run average in the postseason, gets the call for the Tigers, while the Giants will send their hottest pitcher, Ryan Vogelsong, to the mound.
Sanchez, 28, opened the year with the Miami Marlins but was shipped to the Tigers in a July trade. He pitches well against the Giants but if Detroit do not start hitting, it might not matter.
In San Francisco, the Tigers had just 10 hits in two games.
“The key is we’re going to have to get some runs on the board, obviously,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
“But Sanchez will be fine. Once he got acclimated here with his new team mates, new manager, new pitching coach, the Detroit scene, he’s done very, very well.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sanchez had “a good fastball and secondary pitches”.
”He’ll throw any pitch at any time,“ Bochy added. ”He throws quality strikes, and we’ve had our tough times against him. He’s a really good pitcher.
“We know we have our work cut out when we’re facing him because he’s been hard on us.”
The 35-year-old Vogelsong played well down the stretch but has turned it up in the postseason, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA.
Despite the critical game, Leyland said he would not deliver a pre-game speech to motivate his players.
“I don’t have a lot of psychological stuff,” he said. “I’ve never been one of those guys. This is simple to me, we’re going to work, bring your lunch bucket, go to work, give them a good day’s work for a good day’s pay and go home.”
Editing by John O'Brien