4) Detroit Tigers
When Justin Verlander is the fourth-best starter in your rotation, that is probably a good thing, but at the same time, the big-right hander is probably the key to the entire season for Detroit. Verlander has been a mess this season, posting a 4.79 ERA over 22 starts and 142.2 innings, and the Tigers are in desperate need of a return to form from their “ace”.
At the same time, Detroit has been just fine without dominance from Verlander, as the trio of Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello has been lights-out. The offense is almost never an issue, with Miguel Cabrera out of his mind (as usual) and Victor Martinez experiencing his career season at age 35. Dave Dombrowski always manages to help his case as well, as J.D. Martinez (a castoff from Houston) and Joakim Soria have been brought in as reinforcements at struggling positions.
The Tigers aren’t the prohibitive favorite in the American League anymore, but they have one of the best cores of talent in all of baseball, and elite players often carry teams in October.