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Justin Verlander (Right)
Doug Fister (Right)
Anibal Sanchez (Right)
Max Scherzer (Right)
As Jim Leyland told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday, there's "no secret" to the Tigers' pitching rotation. Detroit has had a clearly defined top four since October began, and that quartet has been the unquestioned focal point of its 2012 postseason run.
Thanks to their hard-throwing, bat-missing ways, the Tigers finished fourth this season in strikeouts and their starters have posted a 1.02 ERA during the postseason. Reigning regular-season MVP Justin Verlander is a known commodity, but fellow rotation mates Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez have been almost as impressive. Almost.
Al Albuquerque (Right), Joaquin Benoit (Right), Phil Coke (Left), Octavio Dotel (Right), Rick Porcello (Right), Drew Smyly (Left), Jose Valverde (Right)
No unit on this Tigers team makes Detroiters queasier than the relief corps. Closer Jose Valverde has become the perfect cocktail of bad stuff, bad command and diminishing returns, forcing Leyland to reconsider his end-game options. Problem is, neither Joaquin Benoit or Phil Coke have the kind of peripherals that suggest they can dominate a ninth inning.