The Pirates and Tigers transition from Pittsburgh to Detroit tonight, and the Tigers will be sending 23-year old rookie Buck Farmer out to the mound for his Major League debut. Farmer was a fifth round draft pick (as a senior) by the Tigers in last year’s draft and was slow-rolled by the Tigers through their system until, well, today; he started this year as a 23-year old in the Midwest League, and only has two starts in Double-A to his name.
I hate predicting how these sorts of things will go. We, as Pirate fans, have seen guys like Kris Johnson and Aaron Something [Thompson] make great spot starts or long relief appearances in their big league debuts despite not having much of a ceiling or pedigree. Certainly the degree of unfamiliarity in these games can work to the pitcher’s advantage when otherwise he might be overmatched. On the other hand, well, he might be overmatched. This Pirate lineup, even sans McCutchen, has shown the ability to score runs in bunches on occasion, and I doubt that Farmer has seen much of anything like it in the Midwest League or the Eastern League.
Vance Worley starts for the Bucs. Since the All-Star Break, he’s got a 0.93 ERA and a 17:5 K:BB ratio in 28 innings and four starts. Of course, facing a team with a DH is always a more difficult task than the alternative. Of course, the Pirates get a DH, too: Pedro Alvarez will be the DH and try to hit well enough to earn some starts at first base after this series ends. First pitch tonight is at 7:08, because the Tigers are stupid and can’t pick a round number like everyone else.