The Detroit Tigers have played great baseball and have clinched their berth in the playoffs with a division win. Looking at the current standings, the Tigers would likely face the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees. Let's look at the current Tigers pitching staff.
This man can throw any pitch necessary to win a game. Verlander is 24-5 in 33 starts for the Tigers with an ERA of 2.29, the best in the major leagues. His WHIP of 0.91 is one of the best in the MLB.
In the AL, he leads six statistical categories (W, IP, SO, ERA, WHIP, W%) and is third in complete games with four. He has the AL Cy Young basically won. He was the 2006 Rookie of the Year, and has pitched phenomenally since his MLB debut.
In just his third year, Porcello has played great, although his record might not show it. His ERA is high at 4.79, and he gets shaky in later innings. His ability to go deep in games has been subpar and he hasn't proven himself too much after the fifth or sixth inning of a game.
Porcello needs to go further into games. He failed to make it out of the fourth inning twice last month and has been very inconsistent on the mound for the Tigers. If he could pitch as well at home (5-5 5.91 ERA) as he does on the road (9-4 4.00 ERA), he could be a great pitcher in the Tigers rotation.
How far will the Tigers advance in the 2011 MLB playoffs?
Scherzer's career has really turned around since moving from Arizona to Detroit after the 2009 season. He went 9-15 in two seasons with the Diamondbacks, but after moving teams, he is 26-20 following a bit of a transition year in 2010. Scherzer is 14-9 on the season with an ERA of 4.39, and has beaten the Yankees twice.
Scherzer's pitching seems to flip a switch and the Tigers bats get hot whenever he is on the mound.
Penny is certainly the slacker in the Tigers rotation. He has been in the league since 2000 and his numbers have started to fall slowly since his 16-4 record in 2007. His 5.07 ERA seems to kill him and the rest of the Tigers as well. Penny has only won three games the past month, and has struggled throughout his season at Comerica Park.
I cannot say enough about the way that this man pitches. Never a blown save this season, a perfect 46-for-46. In nine seasons in the major leagues, he has played some phenomenal ball, with only 30 blown saves. His ERA has been below three all season long and he continues to dominate batters late in games to give his team the win.
He might not break Fransisco Rodriguez's record for most saves in a season of 62, but he consistently performs well on the mound and gives his team a great chance to win. His 48 consecutive saves is the longest active streak in the major leagues, and is third all-time. If the Tigers give this man the ball, it is almost certain that they are going to win the game.
The Tigers will play the rest of this season trying to get the best record in the AL. Although they are 3.5 games behind the Yankees, they at least want to beat the Texas Rangers. Whether they get first or second, the Tigers will play the Red Sox (as it stands now) in the first round, as long as they finish ahead of Texas.
With a great pitcher in Justin Verlander, and a great closer in Jose Valverde, the rest of the Tigers lineup will need to step it up in the postseason in order for them to work their way to another World Series.