Upon designating the struggling Zach McAllister for assignment on Saturday, the Tigers recognized the need to add further pitching depth, especially in the form of a starter. But their options were so deeply limited, they intended to call up Jacob Turner, and announced he would start Sunday’s game, but that change was scrapped last minute and the Tigers brought up lefty reliever Daniel Stumpf instead.
Turner, if you blinked and missed his only start this season, did not do well. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Turner had one of the worst starts of the year when he faced off against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. He gave up seven runs (five earned) on six hits, and was pulled from the game in less than two innings. The next day he was designated for assignment, cleared the waivers, and went back to Triple-A Toledo.
Buck Farmer has been a staple in the Tigers bullpen for most of the year, appearing in 52 games for the team. He has a 4.33 ERA and a 1.574 WHIP, and I’m still more confident about him than I would have been with Turner. This will be Farmer’s first start this season, though he previously started 11 games last year for the team.
Detroit Tigers [51-73) at Minnesota Twins (58-64)
Time/Place: 2:10 p.m. EDT, Target Field
SB Nation site: Twinkie Town
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Buck Farmer (3-4 in relief, 4.33 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-7, 4.44 ERA)
Jake Odorizzi definitely has the upper hand in this match. He’s 2-1 in his career against the Tigers with a healthy 2.51 ERA. He’s performed well recently. In his most recent outing against the Pirates he struck out nine, nearly matching his career high of 10. The thing to keep an eye for with Odorizzi is that the Twins have a short leash on him. In spite of how good he’s been recently, he hasn’t gone more than five innings in his last three starts.
If the Tigers can score early and often, they may be able to knock him out sooner and set to work on the Twins’ bullpen.
Key matchup: Keep Forsythe limited
We’ll want to see how much damage the red-hot Logan Forsythe does against Farmer if given the opportunity. Forsythe went 5-5 on Thursday, and since his trade from the Dodgers has hit .379 for the Twins. He took advantage of Francisco Liriaio earlier in the week, and don’t expect him to ease up on mistakes Farmer makes.
The benefit Farmer has here is limited exposure as a starter this season. Like with the Rays “opener” shenanigans, moving Farmer from the bullpen to a starter position will be a different view for the Twins, who may not be prepared for it, especially with the last-minute change from Jacob Turner. If he can maintain his control he might be able to surprise them the first two goes through the order.
This will be an interesting test for Buck Farmer, but given that both he and Odorizzi will be on short leashes, this will come down to a battle of the bullpens, and the Tigers won’t quite make the grade. Twins win.