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Gardenhire remains confident in Farmer

Right-hander is coming off a pair of consecutive rough outings
Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- In the gloom of the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse after giving away a four-run lead, losing pitcher Buck Farmer earned a glimmer of hope -- that manager Ron Gardenhire believed in him enough to protect a late-inning lead.

But then, after two bumpy outings, any measure of optimism will do.

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SEATTLE -- In the gloom of the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse after giving away a four-run lead, losing pitcher Buck Farmer earned a glimmer of hope -- that manager Ron Gardenhire believed in him enough to protect a late-inning lead.

But then, after two bumpy outings, any measure of optimism will do.

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"It means a lot; it means he has faith in me," Farmer said on Friday night. "Last night and tonight were two rough outings, but it's not going to stop me from continuing to try to get better every day."

Farmer went one-third of an inning on Thursday, allowing a hit and a walk. On Friday, it was worse, coming on in relief of Michael Fulmer, walking two straight batters, which would eventually be the winning runs in a 5-4 loss to Seattle.

Instead of stopping a Mariners rally, Farmer became part of a Tigers quartet of pitchers in the seventh inning that couldn't protect a lead.

In the moment, Farmer put the loss on himself, an emotion reflected in the loss that he took in the box score.

"You lose the lead late and it's on me," Farmer said. "It's always frustrating."

The loss led to some questioning of bringing in Farmer, rather than going with maybe a safer option in Joe Jimenez, the Tigers' established eighth-inning option. But Gardenhire wasn't having any of that.

"I've heard people say you could have brought Jimenez in there," Gardenhire said. "How many appearances and innings do you want to have Jimenez? He's supposed to be an eighth-inning guy, now you want to bring him in the seventh to try to get an out there and then the eighth -- he's already got 20-plus appearances. We're trying to protect that kid, too.

"Somebody else has to get people out."

The hope is that it could be Farmer, who is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in 20 2/3 innings this season.

Gardenhire admitted that the fluidity of the Tigers' bullpen at the moment opened up the possibility for the right-hander to get the opportunity.

"We're constantly mixing up pitching staffs, moving people in and out," Gardenhire said. "We have to continue to do that, but the last two outings for Farmer has been a little rough, he's just misfired. We were hoping he'd step into that role and be fine to where we could use him in the eighth inning where Jimenez is not going to pitch, which we did. ...

"When he's going good he's nice and calm, not trying to throw it 8,000 mph," Gardenhire added. "That's what he's looking for, and that's what we're looking for. And then he can be one of those guys towards the end."

But Gardenhire didn't see what he'd hoped for from the right-hander on Friday.

"The biggest thing you find is when he's erratic like that," Gardenhire said on Saturday. "If you're misfiring a little bit and you've got a 2-1 count and you throw a sinking changeup in the dirt bouncing away, that's not good enough. He's throwing 95. We want him to attack and he didn't attack yesterday."

Farmer was equally hard on his own performance after the game.

"I think I was just nibbling too much, got a couple of no-calls," Farmer said. "Didn't get balls in the strike zone as much as I needed to, walked two guys and that was the difference."

Rob Shore is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.

Detroit Tigers, Buck Farmer