Tag:Doug Fister
Posted on: October 6, 2011 1:53 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 9:50 am

Yanks hope Fister, Alexander parallels continue

Like Doyle Alexander back in 1987, Doug Fister cleared the way for the 2011 Tigers to win their division and steam into the playoffs.

But, Game 5 Thursday night in Yankee Stadium? That's where the Tigers need the comparisons to come to a screeching halt.

The Yankees, meanwhile, will do just fine if the striking similarities continue for one more night.

"Fister is a really good pitcher," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said on Wednesday's off day in New York. "I have no idea what's going to happen. [Ivan] Nova is a good pitcher. He beat us in the first game here. ...

"Both of them are very good pitchers. It's one game. I don't know what's going to happen. Somebody can get a good bounce or a bad bounce. Somebody can hit a dramatic home run. Somebody can make an error. I can't predict that."

You couldn't predict the amazing mirror images that Fister and Alexander have provided in Tigers history, either.

Bill Lajoie, the gruff and brilliant baseball man who passed away last December, was the general manager of the Tigers when they traded a young John Smoltz to Atlanta for Alexander in mid-August of '87.

To this day, it remains a deal hotly debated by Detroit baseball fans because, while Smoltz blossomed into a certain Hall of Famer, the deal still accomplished perfectly what the Tigers needed at the time. And I do mean perfectly: Alexander went 9-0 with Detroit, and the Tigers needed every single one of those victories as they fended off the Blue Jays on the last day of the season.

Fister, meantime, went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for the Tigers after GM Dave Dombrowski acquired him from the Mariners on July 30. More importantly, the Tigers went 9-2 in games Fister. Before his arrival, when that spot in the rotation came around, the Tigers had been 4-17.

Colleague Danny Knobler was combing through some statistics recently, and came up with this: Fister's 1.79 ERA came in 10 starts. The only Tiger in the last 38 years to make that many starts in a Detroit season with a lower ERA than that? Try Alexander, with a 1.53 ERA in 11 starts in '87.

Separated by 24 years, the parallel paths of Alexander and Fister continued into the postseason.

Alexander, in his first postseason start in '87, was hammered by Minnesota in the Metrodome in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series. He served up six earned runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings and allowed two home runs, both to Gary Gaetti.

Fister, technically, has not made a start in this year's Division Series because of the odd Game 1 rainout that resulted in a suspended game. Fister "started" the next day, on Saturday, and was cuffed for six earned runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked two. He balked. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Leyland hopes to see a sharper curve from Fister tonight.

"I didn't execute a few things," Fister said of his Saturday start in New York. "A good lineup makes you pay for it. That's what they did the other night. It's going to be a new fight [Thursday] night. I'm still going to go out there and approach the game the same way that I did before. I'm going after hitters and using my defense and obviously letting the offense do the work."

Back in '87, things did not improve for Alexander in his second -- and final -- postseason outing for the Tigers. With Sparky Anderson's club facing elimination in Game 5 in Tiger Stadium, the Twins clobbered Alexander again. In just 1 2/3 innings, he surrendered four earned runs and six hits. By the time it was finished, his smoldering ERA was resting at a vastly imperfect 10.00.

Fister? If the weird trend continues, the Tigers are doomed.

Likes: You can't beat three of the four Division Series going the full five games. Last time that happened? How about 2001, when Seattle (which beat Cleveland), the Yankees (Oakland) and Arizona (St. Louis) each won Game 5. ... The cheeseburgers at Miller's Bar in Dearborn, Mich. As good as they get. ... Detroit Beach Restaurant and Pizzeria in Monroe, Mich. ... Running through the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village grounds. Beautiful. ... The hints of orange and yellow now streaking the leaves in the Midwest.

Dislikes: Sleep well, Steve Jobs. What a legacy.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"As pretty as you are
"You know you could`ve been a flower
"If good looks were minutes
"You know you could have been an hour
"The way you stole my heart
"You know you could have been a crook
"And baby you're so smart
"You know you could have been a school book"

-- The Temptations, The Way You Do The Things You Do

Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 4:11 pm

Tigers scoop up Twins' Young as stretch run looms

In hindsight, the highlight in outfielder Delmon Young's tenure with the Twins came in the spring of 2010, his first day in camp, when he arrived in noticeably better shape than he had been in '09.

"We re-signed Carl Pavano, so I know I'm going to be running quite a bit [chasing balls in the outfield]," Young quipped upon arrival.

It was a funny line but, alas, the optimism of even an in-shape Young was never fully realized in Minnesota. And when the Twins finally shipped him to Detroit on Monday, it capped months of quiet effort on their part to move him in a market that never materialized.

So Young joins the pennant race in Detroit for spare parts -- minor-league lefty Cole Nelson and a player to be named later -- in an intradivision AL Central trade that is attention-grabbing for two reasons: One, because it's rare to see division rivals swap players, especially this close to the stretch run. And two, because it's a clear signal that the Twins, a team that never gives up, are cashing in their chips on 2011.

It's another smooth move for the Tigers, adding depth to an already potent lineup (fifth in the AL in runs scored) that can use an immediate boost because it is ailing. Carlos Guillen (sore wrist) is back on the disabled list and outfielder Brennan Boesch (sprained right thumb) has not started in any of the Tigers' past four games. Meantime, designated hitter Victor Martinez has been playing with a sprained knee and Magglio Ordonez has been looking tired, driving in just four runs so far this month.

Also, the Tigers traded outfielder Casper Wells to Seattle last month for starting pitcher Doug Fister.

Still, the Tigers remain in the drivers' seat in a nip-and-tuck AL Central, leading Cleveland by just 2 1/2 games and stuck-in-neutral Chicago by four games. Both the Indians and the White Sox are close enough to make a serious move, especially given Detroit's current thinned-out lineup due to injury and the Wells deal.

Young gives manager Jim Leyland a veteran piece with playoff experience, and maybe the new surroundings will help jump-start a man whose brother, Dmitri Young, is a Tigers alum. Young, after working himself into perhaps the best shape of his life in 2010, batted .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBI. However, so far in 2011, he's hitting just .266 with four homers and 32 RBIs.

Young's diminishing returns and increasing salary has had the Twins open to trading him at least as far back as last winter. He's earning $5.375 million this summer and is arbitration-eligible again this winter. Minnesota now can use that money for any number of things, from plugging in holes elsewhere on the roster (they rank 13th in the AL in runs scored, and their 4.65 bullpen ERA is last in the AL) to perhaps taking a run at re-signing Michael Cuddyer, who is a free agent this winter.

Ironically, the Twins open a three-game series in Detroit this evening. So Young does not have to travel too far to join his new team.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 3:31 pm

Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers in on LA's Kuroda

Maybe Rafael Furcal will be the only Dodgers player asked to waive a no-trade clause, maybe not.

Little more than 24 hours before Sunday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline, three clubs continue to seriously engage the Dodgers in conversations regarding starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, according to CBSSports.com sources: The Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers.

It is not known if Kuroda will consent to a deal if traded. A source close to him told CBSSports.com earlier in the week that he still seems a "little apprehensive" about leaving Los Angeles, the only major-league organization he's known since leaving Japan following the 2007 season.

Kuroda is just one of the starters available in a fairly weak starting pitching market at the 2011 trade deadline. The biggest target remains Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez, who will make what could be his final start for the Rockies tonight in San Diego. However, it remains unclear whether Colorado will deal him. The Yankees and Red Sox both are interested.

Detroit acquired Doug Fister from Seattle earlier Saturday, taking him off the board. Other starting pitchers who could go include Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara, San Diego's Aaron Harang, Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann and Seattle's Erik Bedard.

Kuroda this season is 6-13 with a 3.11 ERA in 21 starts for the Dodgers.
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