It looked like the St. Louis Cardinals would be returning to the World Series for the second time in as many years after taking a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series over the San Francisco Giants, but Marco Scutaro, of all players, wasn't ready to let that happen.
The much-traveled second baseman hit .500 (14-28 AB) in the seven game series, earning MVP honors and surging his team's offense past the Cardinals and into position to win San Francisco's second World Series title in three years.
It only took the Giants five games to take out the Texas Rangers back in 2010, but the final hurdle to the 2012 Commissioner's Trophy might be a bit more difficult to scale this year.
The Detroit Tigers, who haven't won the World Series since 1984, will be coming into the 109th Fall Classic well rested, having last played on October 18. Detroit, led by nearly immortal pitching, knocked the New York Yankees out of the playoffs in just four games, and as a result, will be able to start last year's MVP and Cy Young Award-winner Justin Verlander in Game 1.
With key offseason acquisition Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, this year's Triple Crown winner and likely MVP, sitting in the middle of a rather potent lineup, the Tigers offense will be a tough matchup even for the Giants' strong pitching staff.
Rest may seem like it gives a clear advantage to Detroit, but history says otherwise. Since the League Championship Series went to the modern seven-game format 27 years ago, the World Series has, on four occasions, featured a team that played a seven-game series and a team that won in a sweep before facing each other in the championship.
In all four instances, the team that needed all seven games to win the LCS won the World Series. One of those teams was the 2006 Cardinals, who beat the Tigers in five games.