The 2013 MLB season is in full swing with most opening series finishing in the next day or two. The Detroit Tigers will start their second series of the year on Friday back in Detroit for the home opener. With the first series being on the road, Justin Verlander will not be on the mound come Opening Day, but instead Doug Fister will be making his first Opening Day start of his career.
Fister had his struggles in Spring Training, but he will be looking to start the year off strong in Detroit in front of the hometown fans. He went 2-3 with an ERA of 5.68 in just over 25 innings of work down in Lakeland, Florida this spring before heading north. I know that you have to be cautious looking at those numbers and putting too much stock in them could be an overreaction, but at the same time they are a bit concerning.
The thing that I’ve noticed about my fellow Tiger fans is that they like to panic. Not all of them, but a good amount of them. Given the numbers Fister posted in Spring Training, he will need to have a strong outing on Friday to silence the moans of the fans. Although he got beat up a bit in March, I expect him to go out there and give a great performance in the opener.
When Fister is at his best he’s a legitimate number two or three starter, but he has a consistency problem. In 2011 when he came to Detroit from the Seattle Mariners, he dominated the second half of the season going 8-1 in 11 starts posting an outstanding 1.79 ERA. I think I can speak for the entire fan base when I say we hope he returns to his old form.
Last year he battled through some nagging injuries, and even stayed in a playoff game after getting hit in the head by a baseball, proving that he’s a warrior in multiple ways. It could have been from the nagging injuries, or maybe not, but he finished the year with a 3.45 ERA while going just 10-10 in his first full season in Detroit. We know he’s tough and we know he has incredible talent, but it’s time that he puts it all together. Look for him to pitch well on Opening Day, and moreover have a great season for the Tigers.