'Rust' factor is a myth

'Rust' factor is a myth
October 24, 2012, 5:14 pm
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Call this The Myth Of Rust. Or call it, How Justin Verlander Is The Fixit Mans Friend.Or call it one last piece of overthinking before the World Series actually begins. At this point, there are only deeds and words anyway.There is an assumption that the Detroit Tigers are disadvantaged because they beat the New York Yankees in the minimal amount of time allowed by law, while the San Francisco Giants have a leg up in the Series because they squeezed in an extra nine hours and 33 minutes of baseball.Well, okay. Except . . . Verlander evens all odds. Not because he is well rested, although his work load is considerable enough that an extra day here or there is actually useful. No, its because unless he is horrible (and he isnt likely to be), the Giants wont be dropping a nine-spot on the Tigers in Game 1. Theyll have to make do with something closer to three, or even two, perhaps.This allows the Tiger hitters, who may have lost a bit of timing facing batting practice and minor league pitchers, to not have to have score, well, 10. The rust they have can linger a bit. Just not too long. The Giants dont get to set their rotation the way theyd really like. Despite the logic Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti have applied in starting Matt Cain in Game 4 rather than 3, a perfect world would have Cain in any of the other three games. Even if Cain was getting his pitches up in Game 7 against the Cardinals (who by the way are a good hitting bunch and still did nothing with them), he is still preferable in an extra game to either Madison Bumgarner or Tim Lincecum. Having to go pedal to metal as the Giants have has caught them at sixes and sevens with their rotation, and youll likely see that the second time the Tigers see Bumgarner or Barry Zito.RELATED: San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series page
The difference between Verlander and Zito is pronounced enough that the Tigers have an advantage most Game 1 visitors dont have. This dovetails from Reason 2, in that the difference between Zitos best work and Verlanders best work is that Verlander displays his more often. Even the home plate umpire, Gerry Davis, whose numbers between 2007 and 2010 suggested an extreme hitters umpire, saw his numbers change in 2012; fewer walks, more strikeouts, closer to the mean in runs per game. That helps Zito, but it helps Verlander more. Finally, rust is a one-day stat. After Game 1, nobody is rusty anymore, and baseball reverts to its more normal do-or-be-done state. Rust is not forever, and were talking not about the last seven games anyway, but the 170-some-odd games before it. Weariness and nagging injuries are as important if not more than a few days off. Besides, by the logic of the day, the Giants should have been rusty going into the Cincinnati series, and if they were, they were for only two days.In sum, rust is a myth. If the Tigers lose the World Series, it wont be because they beat the Yankees too quickly. It will be because the Giants were better.And if the Tigers win, they obviously werent rusty at all now, were they?Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com