In his first start back in the minor leagues Monday, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Buck Farmer.
The Rockdale High School graduate, pitching for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens of the Detroit Tigers organization, didn’t get out of the first inning of his start, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in just 1/3 of an inning in an 11-6 loss to the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland Indians).
It was a shocking development for the right-hander, who was making his Triple-A debut after last starting for Detroit on August 13 in his Major League debut and allowing four runs in five innings of a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Before the disastrous outing against Columbus, which saw him allow five hits, including a home run to Giovanny Urshela, and three walks, while retiring just one of the nine batters he faced, Farmer had allowed more than four earned runs just once in his previous 33 professional appearances.
That happened on June 12 when he surrendered five earned runs to Great Lakes while pitching for Single-A West Michigan. Since that start, the Conyers native had gone nine straight starts without allowing more than four earned runs, including a seven-start streak at West Michigan and Double-A Erie of two runs or less.
Monday was a different story as the 23-year old immediately got into trouble and couldn’t get himself out. Farmer gave up a single to Tyler Holt to open the first, then Columbus shortstop Francisco Lindor sacrificed Holt to second. That was the only out Farmer would record as seven consecutive Columbus batters reached base. Jesus Aguilar walked and Urshela followed with a three-run home run that put the host Clippers up 3-0. Farmer walked two more and allowed three more singles, the last of which by Luke Carlin drove in two runs and made it 6-0. That chased Farmer from the game.
Despite the rough outing, Farmer’s overall season numbers are still excellent. In 21 starts at three minor league levels, the 2013 fifth-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech is 11-6 with a 2.82 ERA in 116 innings pitched.
Farmer should make another start for Toledo during its upcoming weekend series with Louisville.