DETROIT (AP) — Frost coming off their breath, Pablo Sandoval and the San Francisco Giants finished their workout at Comerica Park, headed back to the clubhouse and pulled off their hooded sweatshirts and parkas.
Halfway to a championship, they weren’t about to let a little chill bother them.
“The cold weather, obviously we’re going to have to deal with,” pitcher Ryan Vogelsong said Friday. “But it’s the World Series.”
The Giants take a 2-0 lead over the Detroit Tigers into Game 3 on Saturday night, with Vogelsong set to start against Anibal Sanchez.
Vogelsong has been a postseason ace so far this month, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts. Facing temperatures that could drop into the low 30s was hardly a problem for him.
“I don’t suspect that cold weather is going to be much of an issue. If I am thinking about how cold it is, it means I’m not thinking about what I’m doing on the mound,” he said.
For Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and the Tigers, something better change real soon besides the weather or their year is going to end real shortly. They totaled only three runs and 10 hits while losing twice in San Francisco.
The Tigers are hoping that a switch in scenery — the ivy hanging on the center-field backdrop at Comerica has turned to autumn colors since the AL championship series — and a flip in pitchers might help.
Throttled by left-handed starters Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner at AT&T Park, the Tigers are eager to see the right-handed Vogelsong. Any right-hander, in fact: Detroit batted .275 against righties, .253 vs. lefties.
“Sometimes you can’t explain it,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said before a workout Friday. “In our case, we’ve had trouble all year with left-handed pitching, which is strange because we have a lot of good hitters on the team.”
“It’ll be a nice change, obviously, to face a right-hander because we’ve had more success,” he said.”
The Tigers will see Vogelsong, followed by fellow right-hander Matt Cain in Game 4.
“We’ve gone through spurts this whole season where we’ve thrown the ball like this as a staff,” Vogelsong said. “We obviously had our downtime there in the middle of September and at the end of August.”
“And we’re just all kind of hitting our stride here at the same time. It’s up to me and Matt now to keep it going over here in Detroit.”
With the Series in the AL city, Vogelsong will be replaced by a designated hitter in the batting order. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was leaning toward using Hector Sanchez, a .280 hitter during the regular season who has yet to play in the Series.
“It’s always good to be in the lineup,” Sanchez said. “Being the DH when it’s cold, I might come back inside to take swings and stay warm during the game.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland plans to insert speedy rookie Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks in his outfield.
A few big hits would certainly energize the Tigers. So might a few breaks, they believe.
“The ball just hasn’t rolled our way yet,” Berry said. “They got a hit off the third-base bag. They had a bunt that wouldn’t go foul. They made great catches in left field.
“But no excuses. We’re back at home, this is our chance.”
No mistaking that the Series has shifted from California to Michigan.
In San Francisco, it was downright balmy in the 60s, and made for a pair of picture-perfect settings to play ball.
“We have got heaters in the dugout for both teams, obviously. Ours is going to be a little warmer than theirs, I think, tomorrow night,” Leyland said. “But that’s all right. We’re not going to tell them that. I’m just kidding.”
“You know what? It’s cold, but I mean this is the World Series. It’s cold for everybody. It’s cold for the fans, the beer is cold, everything is cold. It’s great. Enjoy it.”
While the Tigers have lost five straight World Series games dating to 2006 against St. Louis, they’ve also won five postseason home games in a row. Detroit began that string last year in the ALCS, took two against Oakland this year in the division series and then finished off an ALCS sweep of the Yankees.
Overall, the Tigers have taken eight straight at home.
“I think a lot of teams, your really good teams, they dominate at home. That’s what they do — the Cardinals, the Reds, they were really tough at home,” Bochy said.
“We ended up having a pretty good home record, despite having some struggles there in September or late August. But it’s a team that feeds on probably their home crowd, and they’re more comfortable at home, and that’s usually the case in baseball. But this certainly is a club that we know is playing very well here.”
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