A Detroit rookie will make his first start, but it won't be the one Tigers fans have been clamoring to watch.
There was speculation that Detroit might promote Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft, from their taxi squad and start him against Cincinnati on Sunday. Following the postponement of Saturday's game due to inclement weather, the Tigers announced instead that Rony Garcia and Daniel Norris would start Sunday as part of a doubleheader with two seven-inning games.
Garcia, a 22-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut in a relief role against Kansas City on Tuesday. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings.
Garcia (0-0, 6.00 ERA) made 20 starts for Double-A Trenton last season, posting a 4-11 record and 4.44 ERA.
Norris has been in the league since 2014 but he'll be facing the Reds for the first time. Norris overcame a bout with COVID-19, which delayed his season debut.
His first positive test came in late June.
"I was super bummed, but my symptoms had cleared up by that time," he said to the Detroit News recently. "I felt it for like two days. I was taking precautions, you know. I figured I was doing enough to not get it. It definitely shocks you. I wasn't really scared, but I was like, when can I come back?"
The COVID pandemic also played a role in the Tigers' decision not to pitch Mize on Sunday. The Tigers are scheduled to play St. Louis Monday through Thursday, but there's a lot of uncertainty regarding those games since several Cardinals players and staff tested positive for the virus this week.
Detroit doesn't want to bring up Mize unless he can start on a steady basis.
"We heard about it. Just waiting to see what happens. We can't control that," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said of the Cards' plight to the News. "It's tough stuff. We will just prepare to play."
Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani are expected to start for the Reds on Sunday. Bauer (0-0, 1.42 ERA) was the scheduled starter on Saturday and warmed up before the delay. The game had been moved up five hours in the hopes of avoiding a postponement.
He expressed his displeasure that the delay wasn't announced earlier, first complaining officials moved the game time on Friday, making it five hours earlier than scheduled with anticipated bad weather.
"Then you let starters get hot for the game and then delay it 8 minutes before game time," he wrote on Twitter. "Never in my ten year career have I seen something so amateur."
Bauer struck out 13 Tigers in his season debut last Sunday but took a no-decision. He will be making his 22nd career appearance against Detroit. He's 10-6 with a 5.11 ERA against the Tigers, though most of the poor outings came earlier in his career. He was 6-1 against them the past two seasons.
DeSclafani will be making his season debut. He was activated off the 10-day injured list after recovering from a mild strain of the right teres major muscle.
"I threw every day. I had two bullpens and just did my normal throwing program," DeSclafani said to MLB.com. "(I did) long toss and flat grounds and bullpens and felt good. I was able to air it out and all that stuff, so I have no issue moving forward."
DeSclafani started 31 games last season and wound up with a 9-9 record and 3.89 ERA. He'll face the Tigers for the first time in this career.
--Field Level Media