Doug Fister was never really known for his ability to strike batters out before he came to the Detroit Tigers. They figured he could still be effective because of Comerica Park’s large dimensions and his pension for getting pop outs. He’s starting to change people’s minds though.
Fister was unable to earn a victory despite his solid effort Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Tigers stranded 12 runners, pushing the game to extra innings after a scoreless first nine. Fister fell one strikeout shy of tying his career high of 13. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and walked only one batter over seven innings. He was able to get hitters to swing at miss at balls and his finishing pitches were breaking very well He threw 76 of his 113 pitches for strikes.
Fister is often the unsung hero on the Tigers’ pitching staff. He came to the Tigers’ organization from the Seattle Mariners as a guy who pitched to contact. He is figuring out how to get hitters to swing at bad pitches rather than hoping they don’t hit them well.
Fister isn’t that far removed from setting an American League record by striking out nine consecutive batters at the end of last season. His stuff hasn’t changed much, but he is figuring out how to keep hitters off balance and Tigers’ pitching coach Jeff Jones has lot to do with it. He seems to have been able to improve Anibal Sanchez’s arsenal as well despite the fact he was 28-years-old when he came to the Tigers.