Doug Fister threw a complete, one-hit game against the Indians as the Red Sox beat the 2016 AL champions. To say he has come in for a lot of criticism since his move to Fenway is an understatement.
Its also true to say that Fister has been excellent and awful from start to start. His recent stellar performance followed a nightmare against the Indians when he gave up five runs over 4.1 innings.
Fister fills in for the injured David Price, taking the fifth starter slot behind Sale, Pomeranz, Porcello and Rodriguez. Fister remains an important part of the push for the post season with Price sidelined.
Fister is currently 3-6 with an ERA of 4.78. Porcello occupies the same bracket, although last year’s Cy Young winner has shown signs of improvement of late. The front office has a lot of faith in Fister, even if fans don’t. He will be around for the playoffs.
The Red Sox should make the playoffs if Sale and Co. continue to perform, and the offense provides run support. Getting to the play offs is one thing, winning the post season is another. Can the pitching staff as a whole get it done in the play offs?
Post Season Pitching
The Royals and the Indians proved how a different way of pitching can succeed in the post season. Francona showed in 2016 that the traditional divisions between starters and relievers get blurred. Starters, like Kluber, and relievers like Miller, had to get used to a different regime during October.
That regime was designed to ensure pitchers could pitch at their best in Game Seven of the World Series showdown. The Royals had a clear plan in 2015. Get a lead by the seventh and then call for the lights-out bullpen.
It’s not clear whether Farrell has a clear plan but he needs one and the right personnel to make it work. As we stand, it’s the management of bullpen that is shaky not the starters.
If Price returns, pitches well and the rest of the rotation is healthy, expect Fister to join the bullpen. Fister could yet prove to be the unexpected treasure for the Red Sox.