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Everyone knows what Verlander provides when he is on the mound, but it will be the performances of Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister that propel the Tigers to the postseason.
Doug Fister has begun to improve recently, as he posted a season-high 10 strikeouts and one earned run in a dominant victory over the Angels on Wednesday. He is beginning to find his stride and will create an incredible duo with Verlander as the season continues.
Max Scherzer has shown signs of greatness, but he has also struggled mightily at certain points this season. For example, on June 17, Scherzer went eight innings with no earned runs and a whopping 12 strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies. At the same time, on July 14, he went only five innings with four earned runs and only four strikeouts. If Scherzer can become more consistent with his dominant performances, he will join Fister and Verlander as one of the top pitching trios in baseball.
Rick Porcello has been an enigma since his rookie year. He has the ability to be one of the best pitchers on the Tigers staff and has shown glimpses of this during 2012. For example, on June 30, Porcello went seven innings with no earned runs while only giving up four hits. However, he also gave up five earned runs in only 5.2 innings in his last start against the Angels. Porcello needs to find his stride and eat up some critical innings in order for the Tigers to have a chance to surpass the White Sox in the division.
In the end, these three pitchers will be incredibly pivotal to Detroit's playoff chances, and I believe they will perform up to or beyond expectations as the season progresses.