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Detroit Tigers Links: Justin Verlander's ace status & Jose Valverde's team role

Justin Verlander's experience has helped him become a true "ace" pitcher, Jose Valverde's role in the bullpen is still unclear, and Robinson Cano isn't doing as poorly as we think. These stories and a pic that Kate will be proud of in today's Morning Prowl.

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images

Experience helps Justin Verlander blossom as Tigers' ace
The Detroit News, Tom Gage
A 100 mph fastball doesn't hurt either.

Will Tigers' pitching end ALCS early?
ESPN SweetSpot Blog, Christina Kahrl

"The Kitties’ fearsome foursome of Verlander, Scherzer, Doug Fister and Sanchez notched an outstanding 70 quality starts in 105 turns for the Tigers, with an average Game Score of 57, which in isolation would represent the best clip in the league."

Detroit Tigers Bullpen Doesn't Need Valverde
Motor City Bengals, Chris Hannum
While I would agree that the Tigers don't "need" Valverde, a return to form for Papa Grande would be a very nice thing to have.

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila: Deeper staff has aided manager Jim Leyland during bullpen woes
MLive, David Mayo

"Basically, for the whole last month of the season, and this postseason, he [Leyland] has gone a lot on matchups but he's also gone with the hot hand," when selecting relief pitchers, Avila said. "The guy who's been pitching the best, he's been thrown out there. At this point of the season, you've got to go with the guy you know is going to get outs."

.gif | Doug Fister wiggles out of trouble in the 6th inning
Walkoff Woodward, Rob Rogacki
From Game 1: pure nastiness from Fister.

The downward spiral of Nick Swisher
Baseball Nation, Grant Brisbee
If his performance this postseason is driving down his price when he hits free agency this winter, then I am doubly in favor of what is happening right now.

Brett Gardner could get a shot in the starting lineup
HardballTalk, D.J. Short
I, for one, have been overjoyed to see Gardner buried on the bench in the first two games. This is not good.

Robinson Cano at the Heart of Two Matters
FanGraphs Baseball, Jeff Sullivan
Read the first part if you like (just don't complain about it, please), but the meat of this article is in the latter half: Cano is taking some good swings. The longer he stays ice cold, the better.

Elsewhere in Baseball:

Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg And The Story That Won't End
Federal Baseball, Patrick Reddington
Here's my question: do we have a new title curse on our hands here?

Matt Holliday’s hard slide takes out Marco Scutaro
Big League Stew, David Brown
Scutaro's base hit that slid under Holliday's glove later in the game is proof that karma exists in this world.