By: Pat Caputo
1. Jose Valverde – He pitched a lot better the second half than during the first, but there was still a dropoff from last season. The Tigers can’t afford blown saves in the postseason. No club can.
2. Justin Verlander – For as brilliant as his career has been to this point, Verlander’s career postseason ERA is above 5.00. The Tigers need him to eat up innings to take pressure off their bullpen. They also need a game or two from Verlander in which he is utterly dominating to go far in the playoffs.
3. Austin Jackson – Miguel Cabrera and Cecil Fielder can only clean up if the table has been set. Jackson has been a brilliant table setter at the leadoff spot this season and it must continue under the spotlight of the playoffs.