One doesn’t have to reach too far back into the history of the Detroit Tigers to find a time when an apparently loaded roster was having trouble getting their act together and playing like the playoff team they were supposed to be.
Last season, and July 30th to be more specific, the Tigers were just 56-51 and spinning their wheels near the top of the AL Central. But what a day July 30th of 2011 would turn out to be. That was the day the Tigers traded for Doug Fister, the one who makes all things better.
5 players moved in that deadline deal and only one currently stands as an impact major league player – Fister. Detroit shipped Charlie Furbush (currently pitching in the Mariners’ bullpen), Casper Wells (a part-timer in the M’s outfield) and Chance Ruffin (a prospect pitching in AAA) out west in exchange for Fister and David Pauley (remember him?).
It is well documented that the Tigers went on a sudden and permanent tear for the rest of 2011 after Fister hit Motown. Jim Leyland’s crew went 39-16 the rest of the way and eventually petered out in Game 6 of the ALCS against the mega bats of the Rangers.
Spearheading the pennant drive was none other than the lanky one. In 10 starts for the Tigers down the stretch, Dougy Fresh went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA and a disturbing 57:5 K to walk ratio. He was so good, dare I say it, that he was one-upping the mighty Justin Verlander every turn through the rotation.
Fister started the Tigers’ 2nd game of this season against the Red Sox. All seemed right with the world through 3.2 innings of scoreless ball until he strained a muscle in his side. That was exactly one month ago, April 7th. Fast forward to May 7th and Fister once again has put himself in the position of playing the hero’s role.
The Tigers are a middle of the road 14-13 after 1 full month of baseball. Their lowest point came 2 weeks ago when they were pushed around by Fister’s former team, the lowly Seattle Mariners. Fister has yet to face the M’s since joining the Tigers. Don’t be surprised if his return serves as the spark that this team needs.
The 6’8’’ right-hander will be taking the mound as you’re preparing for bed tonight (10:05 eastern). When you wake up, all just might be right within the world of the Detroit Tigers once again.