Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fister Punches Out the Entire Royals Line-up

Photo credit: Matthew Mowery, Oakland Press

The Tigers completed a four-game sweep with a 5-4 walk-off win over the Kansas City Royals this afternoon.  The win moved the Tigers a game and a half ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central pending Chicago's game versus Tampa Bay tonight. The game winner came on a bases-loaded ground out by catcher Alex Avila in the bottom of the ninth.

It's not too often a walk-off gets upstaged by a pitcher who left the left the game in the eighth inning, but the story of the day was Tigers starter Doug Fister.  It's always exciting when a pitcher strikes out the side, but how about striking out the side three times in a row?  Fister didn't actually do that, but he achieved the equivalent by striking out nine consecutive Royals.

The six-foot-eight-inch right hander retired catcher Salvador Perez to end the fourth.  He then struck out the side in the fifth and sixth giving him seven straight strikeouts tying a team record previously set by both Denny McLain and John Hiller over 40 years ago.  Fister then broke the team and American League records by striking out the first two Royals in the seventh.  That's nine straight strikeouts or the entire Royal;s line-up.  The string finally ended when Perez grounded to shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

The major league record for consecutive strikeouts in a game is ten by Mets superstar Tom Seaver in 1970.  I was only seven years old when that happened, but I remember thinking that was the most amazing feat ever when I heard about it on the radio.  I was listening to today's game on internet radio at work and was really hoping - as we all were - for number ten when Fister got two strikes on Perez.  Still, nine strikeouts in a row is an incredible feat.

The previous AL record of eight was last accomplished by Blake Stein of the Royals in 2001.  Others with eight in a row include Angels legend Nolan Ryan twice, Red Sox fire baller Roger Clemens and Ron Davis of the Yankees.  Other National League hurlers with nine consecutive strikeouts are Adam Harang with the Dodgers earlier this year and Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins in 2009.

Mister Fister has  posted a 3.38 ERA and 135/35 K/BB in 157 1/3 innings this year.  Since becoming a Tiger, he has a very impressive 2.89 ERA and 192/40 K/BB ratio in 227 2/3 innings.  Those are Cy Young type numbers if he can do it in a single season. 

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