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MLB Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half Of The 2014 Season

Detroit Tigers: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half Of The 2014 Season

Detroit Tigers Mascot
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Most people expected the Detroit Tigers to once again rank among baseball's elite this season. As the owners of the third-best record in baseball right now, that would certainly seem to be the case. They haven't exactly followed the imagined blueprint in achieving that success, however. Here are the five biggest surprises that the boys from Motown have thrown at us thus far in 2014.

5. Road Sweet Road

Torii Hunter Tigers
Getty Images

5. Road Sweet Road

Torii Hunter Tigers
Getty Images

The Tigers have had a lot of success in the past few years, but most of that hasn't occurred away from Comerica Park. Over the past six seasons, the club is a surprising 41 games below .500 on the road, but they've turned the tables in 2014. Detroit's 25-15 road mark is the third-best in the bigs to this point, and assuming they kick things into gear at home sometime soon, this bodes well for their playoff chances.

4. V-Mart's Career Season

Victor Martinez Tigers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

4. V-Mart's Career Season

Victor Martinez Tigers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Most hitters don't have their best season at 35 years old, but most hitters aren't as awesome as Victor Martinez, apparently. The Tigers were expecting a solid bat in the middle of their lineup per usual from their DH, but I doubt they foresaw a .323 average with a 40-HR and 100-RBI pace. The fact that Martinez, not Miguel Cabrera, has been Detroit's best hitter to this point is surprising indeed.

3. The $10 Million Mistake

Joe Nathan Tigers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. The $10 Million Mistake

Joe Nathan Tigers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers signed this prominent closer to a large two-year contract last offseason to shore up the back end of their bullpen. The man who saved 80 games the past two years with a dazzling 2.09 ERA for the Texas Rangers seems to have forgotten how to pitch in 2014, however. Nathan's horrific 6.37 ERA and 1.58 WHIP aren't simply surprising, they're flat-out shocking.

2. J.D. Martinez Emerges

J.D. Martinez Tigers
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

2. J.D. Martinez Emerges

J.D. Martinez Tigers
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When you get released by the hapless Houston Astros during Spring Training, you know you've hit rock bottom. The Tigers saw something in Martinez though and decided to sign him to a minor league contract. Injuries have given the outfielder a chance to play everyday of late, and boy has he responded. Since June 9, he's batting a lofty .373 with six HRs and 18 RBIs for the Tigers. Bet you didn't see that coming.

1. Justin Verlander Implodes

Justin Verlander Tigers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

1. Justin Verlander Implodes

Justin Verlander Tigers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This former MVP was by no means spectacular last year, but after a dominant playoff run, many expected him to be back with a vengeance in 2014. The season actually started off quite well for JV, but after putting up a strong 2.67 ERA over his first eight outings, he has utterly fallen apart. In nine starts since, Verlander has won just twice to go along with a nearly unbelievable 6.89 ERA. This isn't the surprise Tigers fans were hoping for.

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.