Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Living on the Baseball Diamond and Learning to Throw a Change Up

June 27, 2017



Doug Fister (RHP) Boston Red Sox

Astute Detroit Tiger fans may have noticed a surprise this past Sunday when the MLB Network televised the Los Angeles Angels at Boston Red Sox game. Like most major league teams, the Red Sox are desperate for a pitcher, a good pitcher, a decent pitcher or a pitcher that can find home plate!

With one eye on the Internet and the television tuned to a game of little interest in normal Tiger seasons, I heard the broadcaster announce “Doug Fister takes his last warm-up and ready to throw his first pitch to the team that released him. Strike One!” Six of his first seven pitches were strikes and he set down the same team that gave up on him one-two-three.

The announcers went on to say that Fister was dropped from the Angel’s 40 man roster in the spring and assigned to an AAA team. From what I understand the one-time Tiger had to waive first his major league contract to “work out some mechanics” in the junior circuit. But, then Fister waived his minor league contract which released all ties to the Los Angeles Angels.

On Sunday, Fister pitched six strong innings, surrendering three earned runs to record an impressive first start and considered as a quality start. Fister stats for the game included 3 runs, 7 hits, 3 BB and 6 SO. Not bad for a first start of this season. He pitched a perfect first inning recording six of seven strikes. Only a blown double play with a wild throw led to 3-run 2nd inning for the Angels to take a 3-0 lead.

Had the Red Sox turned that double play, Fister just may have thrown a six inning shutout. The Angels ended up winning the game 4 – 2.  Fister and the Sox should have won the game. But coming close only counts in horseshoes. He left the game receiving a spontaneous ovation recognizing his courageous effort from Red Sox fans. They have a reputation as being as knowledgeable of the game as Tiger fans.

And Tiger Fans would without hesitation bet a Stroh’s (beer is back) that Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler would turn the double play with ease. “Two for the price of one as Ernie would say.

The MLB broadcasters described Fister as a pitcher who “throw strikes, induce ground balls with a number of double play opportunities, a proven ability to strike out batters in critical situations and he works fast from the mound. The batter hardly settles in at the plate. Doug Fister with his 6’ 8” frame can intimidate batters and is throwing at 91 mph.

Now a veteran pitcher at 33 years old then took a risk and “waived a Minor League contract” and essentially became available to any Major League for nothing! Any team could pick him up and give him a chance to rejoin “The Show” and hopefully return to form.

Doug Fister began to find himself in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers as they were winning division championships and a contender to win it all.

While under the tutelage of pitching coach, Jeff Jones and his sidekick Jim Leyland, Fister recorded 14 wins against 9 losses, 208 2/3 innings and 93/44 K/BB ratio and more importantly he threw strikes, rarely walked the first batter to start an inning, induced many double play opportunities.

Doug Fister settled into the fourth spot of a rotation consisting of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and this kid Rick Porcello. Not bad company to which he could turn to improve his game and confidence. In 2014 the Tigers moved him to the Washington Nationals where he compiled an even better season.

By now you may be saying, “Get to the point.” My question for the true Tiger Fan is what is one of the most critical needs for the team? It is pitching! Consistent pitching, reliable pitching, control, command and the ability to strike a batter out with 0–2 count. 

For the past five seasons Tiger fans will scream at the TV during a pitching change and think aloud “Oh no, Ausmus is bringing in Him. You gotta be kidding!” 

The Tiger front office is asleep. What is GM Al Avila thinking? There is no longer the time to wait and sort it out at the trade deadline. They need a new face now and one who just might help them end the team’s poor play and losing streak. “You can’t make this stuff up, folks” cries radio commentator Jim Price with every game now. “He walks the first batter, unbelievable!

The Tigers cannot retrieve Mickey Lolich with a roll around his middle and a rubbery arm rolling off strike after strike, throw 98 pitches, completing nine innings and ending the game in 2 hours, 15 minutes. Happy fans could exit Tiger Stadium at 10:15 PM and that was with an 8:00 start! Am I right Jim? (Hey Jim, got any idea where Mickey is right now?)

Doug Fister is a starter and I realize that. He is also an accomplished player with courage. Something the Tigers are lacking. However, in those crucial 6th innings the Detroit Tigers need somebody, anybody to get a ground ball, a double-play ball or a strike out to leave the bases loaded.  With an austerity program in place, why did they fail to see the advantage and upside in giving Fister a chance?

I mean to say that Republicans are planning a cut in Medicaid spending by $772 billion and throwing 22 million poor people off health care. Those are real numbers, real facts and not fake news. 

If only the course of the game they play in Washington could be reversed (just as the play at second base), Lives can be preserved and certainly lives can be saved.

All right, it’s too late to acquire Doug Fister. But, they need to look for an alternative real fact and real news. We only ask the Tigers front office one question. 

Why not spend a measly few million restore Tiger and Detroit’s Pride, preserve leads, save games and win?

Why fail Mr. I now? Restore the Roar!

Oh, by the way and you thought I would not mention politics? Look out for the next “yellow hammer.”

You Might Even Call a Republican Senator YOU don't even know.