DETROIT -

After the Detroit Tigers made a blockbuster deadline trade to add David Price to an already loaded rotation, the pitching staff was so crowded that 13-game winner Rick Porcello was in danger of being moved to the bullpen in October.

Fast forward two weeks. Now Anibal Sanchez is on the disabled list, Justin Verlander is missing at least one start and the Tigers have surrendered first place to the Kansas City Royals.

So what's next for the Tigers during a crazy month of August? The answer is Buck Farmer, a 2013 draft pick who made just two starts in Double-A Erie before being called to The Show.

Farmer has dominated minor league hitters since being drafted in the fifth round last year. In 18 starts with the West Michigan Whitecaps this season, the 23-year-old owned an 10-5 record and 2.60 ERA. Farmer was called up to Erie in late July after allowing a total of two earned runs in his final five starts with the Whitecaps.

The right-hander made his first AA appearance on August 1. He posted nearly identical starts in his only two outings, allowing two runs in six innings, but picked up just one win.

On Wednesday Farmer will make the biggest start of his life, not only because he's debuting in the Major Leagues, but also because his club is battling for a playoff spot in mid-August.

Detroit is desperate for a win after dropping four straight to end a 2-7 road trip. A 10-16 start to the second half has allowed the Royals to erase a 6 1/2 game lead in the AL Central Division and climb to the top for the second time this season.

Farmer will be opposed by Pirates' starter Vance Worley, who made four straight quality starts to begin the second half. Worley is 5-1 since joining the Pirates' rotation in mid-June with a 2.30 ERA.

Worley has made two career starts against the Tigers, both as a member of the Minnesota Twins last April. The 26-year-old lost both starts, allowing nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. Worley allowed a total of 18 hits during the starts and struck out just four.

Regardless of Farmer's performance, the Tiger bats have to wake up to end the losing streak. The team averaged just 2.89 runs per game during the nine-game road trip.

Read: Slumping role players drag Tigers out of first place

The Tigers will play two games against the Pirates to finish the home-and-home series between the teams before Austin Jackson and the Seattle Mariners come to town on Friday for a weekend series.