Lance Berkman acknowledges a standing ovation during a pinch-hit appearance… (Chris Lee / MCT )
SAN FRANCISCO — Not long after the San Francisco Giants sent the St. Louis Cardinals home for the winter, one of the Cardinals players provided his pick to win the World Series.
The Detroit Tigers, and it won't be close.
That was the prediction from injured St. Louis first baseman Lance Berkman. He noted that the Giants cannot use their top two starters, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain, until the series shifts to Detroit, and the Tigers get to put a designated hitter in their lineup.
The Tigers are all set with Justin Verlander in Game 1.
"The Tigers have it set up perfectly," Berkman said. "If I'm handicapping this thing, as a neutral third party observer, I've got the Tigers winning it in five or six games."
Marco Scutaro is MVP
The Giants downplayed the idea that Matt Holliday's slide was the catalyst to their National League Championship Series victory, but the story lines to the series start there.
Holliday's slide injured Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro in a hip and knee, but Scutaro rallied to hit .522 (12 for 23) after the slide and .500 overall, winning the NLCS most-valuable-player award and punching the first World Series ticket of his 11-year career.
Scutaro is the first player with six multi-hit games in a seven-game postseason series since Moose Skowron of the 1960 New York Yankees. Scutaro, who turns 37 next week, beamed at the MVP trophy.
Matt Holliday struggles
Holliday had the roughest series of all. His mother underwent surgery for colon cancer before Game 4. He sat out Game 6 because of tightness in his lower back. He batted .200 in the series, with no extra-base hits.
Cain exacted the Giants' revenge for the slide by hitting Berkman in the left arm in the sixth inning, with a seven-run lead. And, as some fans behind third base hollered "He's a bum," the fans seated behind Holliday in left field chanted his name in sing-song fashion: "Holl-iday! Holl-iday!"
"Fans generally don't consider the human element," Berkman said. "It's like going to the zoo and throwing peanuts at the elephant to try to get a reaction."