Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in the American League playoffs, but the Detroit Tigers are far from the best pitching team. It may well be that, in ranking all the playoff hurlers, every team has three pitchers behind Verlander, but ahead of either Doug Fister or Jose Valverde. That kind of imbalance will not serve the Tigers well in their ALDS match-up with the New York Yankees.
It's a funny thing to think about, but depth is both critical and useless in a playoff pitching staff. On occasion, you will fall behind early and need to employ a quick hook to stay in a game, at which point you might need four or more innings from a demoted starting pitcher. At the same time, though, ideally, your top three starters and top two relievers will throw somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 percent of your total postseason innings.
Understanding, then, that every staff is different, and therefore differently prepared for playoff baseball, here are power rankings of the eight teams still left in the hunt for the World Series, based on their useful pitchers.