I love Manager Jim Leyland and I think he's a smart manager but I think he might be relying on his star ace too much. In the past three season, Verlander is averaging 238.1 innings pitched per season (251.o innings pitch in 2011). In his 34 starting appearances, he was averaging 115 pitches per appearance. This is a huge workload for a guy that can throw 97 mph, 98mph and even 100 mph into the late innings. Also, there are no signs this enormous workload is going to stop.
I think this workload is too much even for a player like Verlander. I'm not questioning his fitness. I just don't believe a guy that pitches that much per regular season can physically hold it together. The body can't take it. Thus, the player struggles in the postseason because of the wear and tear of the regular season.
This is an easy fix for Jim Leyland. Don't let him throw more than 110 pitches per appearance. The magic number of pitches in baseball is a 100. Baseball expects believe that's when a pitcher begins to fatigue and when the hitters pick up his tendencies and pitches. Verlander can still pitch nine innings but he would have to do it under 110 pitch, which he did when he threw his no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays last year.
I know Verlander's a competitor and wants to pitch every inning but he needs to be effective in the postseason not the regular season. Leyland needs to eliminate these outings where he is throwing 131 pitches for a complete game (He did this in a 3-2 win @ Kansas City). Not a shutout, not a no-hitter, not a perfect game. Detroit has a bullpen, use it. They had the best closer in baseball in Jose Valverde last year, use him. Save Verlander for a inning (equivalent to 10-20 pitches thrown). Verlander may hate it but he'll thank you when you're celebrating a World Series Championship in the future.