Fister able to pitch more aggressively with Tigers

Former Mariner Doug Fister won Game 3 of the ALCS with 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball for the Tigers. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Doug Fister has been a marvelous story in Detroit and the former Mariner is soaking up his moment in the sun in an American League Championship Series that returned to rain on Wednesday.

It’s been great seeing Fister do well on the big postseason stage and he shared his thoughts post-game Tuesday night outside the clubhouse after beating the Rangers 5-2 to keep the Tigers’ hopes alive. You can read the story here that I wrote for MLB.com.

Fister is a hard-working, down-to-Earth guy who deserves all the success he can find. And while Seattle fans have to cringe a bit at the success he’s having elsewhere, Fister’s trade to the Tigers might just turn out to be one of those “good for both teams” deals that helps Detroit now and benefits Seattle for years to come with the addition of youngsters Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Chance Ruffin and Francisco Martinez.

At the moment, there’s little question the Tigers are thrilled with what Fister is doing. Manager Jim Leyland acknowledges Fister has been better than anyone expected, though Texas manager Ron Washington — who has seen plenty of him in the AL West — said Wednesday he’s the same guy as before, just with a better team behind him.

“I”ll tell you, he’s the same pitcher,” Washington said. “He just didn’t get many runs. I always thought this guy commanded the baseball, he has a feel for what he’s doing and it’s the same. He’s just on a better team. I think he could have got the same results in Seattle if they’d have supported him like these guys support him. He can pitch, man.”

Fister himself insists he’s doing everything the same, but there does seem to be a subtle difference that is paying dividends. He’s always been a strike thrower, but he feels even freer now to challenge hitters and count on the fact his own club can overcome a run here or there if he avoids walking batters and setting up bigger innings.

He had an impressive 89 strikeouts to 32 walks in Seattle. But since coming to Detroit, that ratio is an even-more remarkable 70 strikeouts to just nine walks.

When pressed, Fister admits he might have a slightly different mindset now in that one regard.

“There’d be times I’d get a little picky and try to nip corners and that’s when I got hurt,” he said. “I started walking guys and that’s one thing I’ve tried to stay with, especially since I got here. I’m not going to walk a guy. There may be a situation where it’s OK to put a guy on, but I’d rather give up a little hit than walk a guy. So my focus is, OK, I’m going to attack him and let him put a swing on the ball and hopefully our defense gets it for me.”

Reliever David Pauley has watched Fister in both places, having coming to the Tigers along with him. He sees a slight change there as well, which he attributes to having Detroit’s potent offense working in his favor.

“Maybe he’s a little more aggressive, knowing he can play a little bit,” said Pauley. “He’s not so worried about giving up that one run. Now that he knows he can go out and compete and be more aggressive, then he can go to his other stuff. It’s been fun for him. I know the way he feels. He’s taking advantage of it.”

As for Pauley, he’s not on the Tigers playoff roster for the ALCS, though he’s still traveling and working out with the team and could be added back for the World Series roster if the team wanted to add another arm.

“I’m still throwing bullpens and stuff,” he said. “Obviously you never know. I’m just trying to stay ready.”

1 Comment

Catching should be a concern for the M’s, but I have not heard or seen anything on the position. I am curious as to what is available in the farm system and how close they are to being ready for the bigs. They have had high hopes for Adam Moore.

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