Tuesday: What is going on with Doug Fister?

Doug Fister (AP)

Doug Fister (AP)

Yeah, I know, it’s only Spring Training. I’ve seen terrible camps turn into very good seasons for starting pitchers (Max Scherzer 2010), and I’ve seen great camps yield pretty bad seasons (Rick Porcello 2010, Daniel Schlereth 2012). I know a pitcher completely out of rhythm for most of spring can find his mechanics at the end and dominate.

That, obviously, is what the Tigers hope happens with Doug Fister.

In fairness, if you look at Fister’s career Spring Training stats on his player page at MLB.com, his dominant spring last year was an outlier amidst a history of March mediocrity. This is what the Mariners saw from him in their camps. It fits with Fister’s observation that Spring Training is usually a process for him as he builds up towards Opening Day.

That said, the only building so far has been the pitch count. Fister’s work on getting his mechanics down and finding his fastball command has been a lot of labor and little to no progress.

“That’s the biggest thing for me, finding the sinker consistency,” Fister said after Tuesday’s loss, “and it’s not there. It’s been something that I’ve focused on and I’ll continue to work on. It’s just a feel thing. There are times when it’s there and there are times when it’s not, so it’s just a matter of being consistent.”

It’s a release point issue, he says, but it’s not overall command. It’s just his fastball.

“I felt comfortable with the changeups that I threw,” Fister said. “I felt good with the curveball. And even the cutter is coming along. It’s just a matter of being consistent with the sinker. I feel like it’s there. It’s just a matter of being able to repeat it over and over again.”

I couldn’t watch the broadcast, so I didn’t have a constant watch on the velocity on Fister’s pitches. The home-run ball, though, seemed like it was pretty low. Other times, Fister looked to be hitting the low 90s. So it appears the inconsistency might have also been reflected in the velocity.

Fister has two more starts left this spring to get things ironed out. The fact that he has had rough springs like this before and gone on to enjoy the regular season consistency that has been a trademark of his career so far gives every reason to expect he can get through it this time too — as long as he’s healthy, which is believed to be the case.

20 Comments

OK. The diminished velocity does not matter. The lack of command does not matter. The lack of separation does not matter. It is all good.

Fister did not hit 90, and probably was not over 88. There is a problem.

Get real.

Sarcasm.

Look, one of my kids played at Fresno State, just like Fister. Love him because. Fister is not Fister.

Do not have an answer, but know one is needed.

In other words, I am feeling panicked . Want Fister to come through for several reasons. I don’t buy the excuses and fear for the worst.

All the more reason to put Porcello and Smyly on the opening day roster. One for fifth starter, the other long relief.

Tigers starters bats, in the past 3 games, are giving me nightmarish flashbacks to WS games 2 and 3.

It’s a long season. Although it might seem like a good idea to ‘just send Fister north’, it might not be a bad idea to re-think this if the next start or two are a problem. Leaving him behind to continue to work on things might not be a bad idea. Usually, the regular season starts out with a few delays or weather related issues and a start or two might get dropped. It’s not usually critical to have all 5 the first couple of weeks but then again, it is Michigan weather.

Regardless, I’m sure skipper has this all under his hat.

Makes sense.

Well, it’s a new day and my panic is semi under control. I can even see the irony of it hitting me after mocking the host of panicked Tigers fans who jumped ship from my imaginative Titanic of last season. I was right about the Tigers then. I hope to be wrong about Fister now.

“imaginary” Titanic. Sorry.

Well, I hope he can find his command. I know he’s a runner and I thought last year he looked like a toothpick. And, then, he’d get in a game and get into almost a trance-like rhythm. Well, that doesn’t make much sense, I know. Cut down on the running, and get in the weight room is my suggestion, especially if he’s avoiding it. Still doesn’t make sense, does it? Just my 6th sense working overtime.

i trust jeff, jim and doug will figure something out. no need to panic because, as pointed out, we don’t need him for the first week or so of the season.

Still talk of a Porcello trade from some quarters, but I don’t see that happening. Another thing to keep in mind is Smyly’s experience level. Everyone seems to go by a belief that he’s ready for a full big league season, but that may not be the case yet. I haven’t heard that mentioned.
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Interesting competition between Kobernus and Tuiasosopo. Yesterday Matt had another hit while Jeff made a nice running catch in centerfield. The DP Jeff hit into was a sharply hit grounder that didn’t find a hole. The Rule 5 plus no need for a 3rd or 1st baseman makes Kobernus the front runner, IMO.
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Finally, JP Morosi thinks MLB games should be like these WBC games. I knew Jon was passionate about the WBC, but this took me by surprise. Can you imagine 162 games of players jumping around and celebrating nearly every play while a crowd of chanting, horn tooting fans are in an uproar for the entire game, night after night? Heck, I can’t even stand John Adams and that drum in Cleveland. The staid flow of summer baseball is what makes the emotions of the postseason special. To each his own, I guess.

more like the WBC games, how? the excitement? -impossible.

If JP is advocating gigantic plaintain’s stuffed in starters pants, or otherwise concealed about the players person, JP needs to ask his wife for a prescription. WBC is a sprint, and that kind of enthusiasm is not possible for 162 games, not to mention it would incite riots, and encourage coup de tars in the clubhouse. Not only that, a 6 game losing streak would change the dynamic of the dugout mood entirely.

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