The Tigers beat the Rangers 5-4 tonight in Doug Fister's debut in a Detroit uniform. What did we learn about Fister today? Well, he is 6-foot-8 and 190 pounds and he looks like it as he's all arms and legs. You would expect a pitcher of that body type to get a lot of strikeouts and struggle with control. Fister is just the opposite though. In fact, he struck out none and walked none. He had pinpoint control as 73 of his 99 pitches were thrown for strikes. His career rate of 1.9 walks per nine innings tells us that tonight was not a fluke. He consistently throws strikes.
Fister also showed some athleticism pouncing on three balls back to the box and converting them to outs. It's a good thing he can field his position because his infielders won't help him much there. Tonight Wilson Betemit booted a routine grounder for one run and Jhonny Peralta threw away a potential double play ball for another run. So, Fister gave up three runs in seven innings, but it should have been just one. You can't blame Ryan Raburn tonight as he fielded everything hit to him playing in place of Carlos Guillen at second. But some probably will anyway!
One thing Fister did receive tonight which he didn't get much of in Seattle was offensive support. In 21 starts as a Mariner this year, his teammates scored two runs or fewer 16 times. Tonight the Tigers scored five runs on ten hits. The stars were Raburn (three hits including his 10th homer) and Alex Avila (two hits including his 12th homer).
The result was a win for Fister. He went 3-12 as a Mariner, but probably didn't do anything different tonight. He just threw strikes and pitched a solid game as he usually does. The difference was he got some run support. I suspect he'll get a lot of that along with a good number of pitcher wins and more importantly team wins the rest of the way.