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MLB: 5 Unexpected Strong Starts for the Detroit Tigers

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MLB: 5 Unexpected Strong Starts for the Detroit Tigers
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that the Detroit Tigers are smack dab in the middle of the AL Central race after a third of the season.

They've been competitive through the All-Star break for four of the past five seasons and were expected to do be in the hunt this year as well.

It's how the Tigers are competing that should be the most surprising.

Some players who were expected to be figureheads on this team have been supporting characters at best.

Magglio Ordonez has been on the DL for the last month and wasn't providing anything before being injured.

Ryan Raburn was expected to have a breakout year and—despite a moderately strong start—has been almost invisible the last two months.

Ryan Perry and Joel Zumaya were expected to be back-end bullpen players. Instead, Perry is a Mudhen and Zumaya is continuing to pile up the sick days for the Tigers after a season-ending surgery.

Sure Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer—despite his recent struggles—are mowing down opponents and Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are having their typical strong seasons, but it's these five unheralded guys who have really stepped up where others haven't.

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