The Tigers are playing some great ball these days and are more than Justin Verlander. Over at SI.com, our man Cliff breaks it down:
The Detroit Tigers won their 11th straight game Tuesday night behind yet another gem from likely American League Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander, who pushed his record to 23-5 with seven scoreless innings against the White Sox. What that winning streak proves, however, is that the Tigers are more than a one-man show. In fact, their success has had more to do with scoring runs than preventing them, a fact that has been overshadowed by Verlander’s award-worthy season.
The Tigers’ hot streak also stretches back much further than the last 11 games. Detroit has gone 29-11 (.725) over its last 40 games dating back to the beginning of August, the best record of any team in baseball over that time. Research has shown that coming into the playoffs hot is no guarantee of post-season success, but the Tiger’s aren’t just hot, they’re very good. Detroit possesses a potent offense, an emerging No. 2 starter to complement Verlander and a a bullpen that is anchored by closer Jose Valverde, who has yet to blow this season.
Who knows? Maybe the Tigers go to the Whirled Serious. One thing is for sure, though, Valverde will blow at least one game along the way.