MLB Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers’ First-Half 2014 Report Card

Detroit Tigers: First-Half Report Card for the 2014 Season

Miguel Cabrera Tigers
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are cruising along nicely thus far in 2014 with an outstanding 53-38 record, good for first place in the AL Central and the third best mark in the entire league. Throughout this season the team has performed better in some areas as opposed to others, however. Let's take a look at the the Tigers' first-half report card and dish out some grades.

Offense: A

Victor Martinez Tigers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: A

Victor Martinez Tigers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers' offense is a scary sight for any opposing pitcher, as they rank third in baseball in runs per game. It hasn't just been Miguel Cabrera either. Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Rajai Davis are all having career seasons, and newly acquired Ian Kinsler has been one of the best second basemen in the league. This team has its faults, but the offense more than makes up for those shortcomings.

Defense: C

Nick Castellanos Tigers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: C

Nick Castellanos Tigers
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the boys from Motown owned the sixth best fielding percentage in baseball. The defense has taken a bit of a plunge in 2014, however, as the team ranks a mediocre 17th in that category. Losing the deft glove of SS Jose Iglesias has hurt, but these guys have made far too many blunders on a lot of routine plays.

Starting Pitching: B

Max Scherzer Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Starting Pitching: B

Max Scherzer Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the starting pitching has performed admirably. Max Scherzer and Annibal Sanchez have been mostly brilliant as expected, and the surprisingly good Rick Porcello owns an impressive 12-5 record. Unfortunately the once great Justin Verlander has been knocked around like a punching bag this season, but perhaps he's just saving his best stuff for the postseason like he seemed to last year.

Relief Pitching: C

Joe Nathan Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Relief Pitching: C

Joe Nathan Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The relievers, on the other hand, have struggled for the most part in 2014. The team's 4.26 bullpen ERA sits at a lowly 26th in baseball, and their worst pitcher has surprisingly been expensive closer Joe Nathan. When the Tigers gave him $ 20 million over two seasons, I'm sure they were hoping for better than a 5.61 ERA and five blown saves in 36 appearances.

Coaching: B+

Brad Ausmus Tigers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching: B+

Brad Ausmus Tigers
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Taking over for legend Jim Leyland, new skipper Brad Ausmus has done a fine job with this club. Though he's brought a different coaching style to the Motor City, the winning ways have remained. Hitting coach Wally Joyner should be given his due credit for keeping this new-look offense clicking all year, and bench coach Gene Lamont is like having a second, more experienced manager in the dugout at all times.

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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