Detroit Tigers: 5 Things We’ve Learned Midway Through 2014

5 Things We've Learned About the Detroit Tigers in 2014

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With a 40-32 record and slim lead in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers are having a successful 2014 campaign to this point. The literal halfway point of the season is quickly approaching, so now is the perfect time to look at a few things we have learned about the boys from Motown. Without further ado, here's the good and the bad (with a dash of ugly to boot).

5. Age Isn't Catching Up To Victor Martinez Anytime Soon

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

5. Age Isn't Catching Up To Victor Martinez Anytime Soon

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After batting .232 during the first three months of 2013, some thought Victor Martinez was in steep decline; it turns out he was just rusty. He managed to hit an impressive .367 the following three months, and is having a spectacular career season in 2014. It's unlikely that he surpasses his 40 HR pace, but Martinez should continue to give opposing pitchers nightmares for the foreseeable future.

4. Justin Verlander Isn't Worth $20+ Million A Year

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4. Justin Verlander Isn't Worth $20+ Million A Year

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After a somewhat disappointing 2013 regular season, all seemed well, as Justin Verlander was nearly unhittable in the playoffs. He's taken a mammoth step backwards this season, however, as he sports an awful 4.82 ERA and 1.51 WHIP on the season. JV is the eighth highest paid starting pitcher in baseball this year, yet ranks 129th at his position according to ESPN. A bounce back is certainly possible, but his "ace" status is likely gone for good.

3. Trading For A SS Is A Must

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3. Trading For A SS Is A Must

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The Tigers knew that losing Jose Iglesias for the year was going to be a big blow, and they were right. His replacement(s) so far have been downright terrible, as the team's shortstop position this season has combined to hit a paltry .208 with just 11 extra-base hits in 240 at bats. The newest man to take the job, Eugenio Suarez, has had his moments, but a .250 average and unimpressive Minor League resume doesn't inspire much faith.

2. The Road Is Their Happy Place

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2. The Road Is Their Happy Place

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For all the success the Tigers have had in recent years, they were 41 games below .500 on the road from 2008-13. They're no longer road weary these days, however, as their 21-13 record is the third best in the bigs right now. A mediocre 19-19 home record is a little concerning, but I doubt the team is worried about that quite yet. Since 2008, the Tigers are an impressive 102 games over .500 at home, and will likely pick up the pace soon.

1. The Bullpen Stinks (Especially The Closer)

Joe Nathan Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Bullpen Stinks (Especially The Closer)

Joe Nathan Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When you spend so much money on starting pitching, you expect the bullpen to suffer a bit. I doubt they were expecting this debacle, though. The Tigers' relief staff ranks 29th in baseball with a 4.77 ERA, and the worst culprit has actually been their new million dollar closer. Joe Nathan sports a horrific 6.18 ERA and 1.59 WHIP so far, and he is a prime example of why you don't give that kind of money to a 39-year-old pitcher.

Brian Davis is a fantasy writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SportsGuyBrian, ”Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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