Don’t look now, but Doug Fister is quietly rounding back into form. The pitcher turned in his second straight solid performance, and was boosted by some timely hitting as the Detroit Tigers romped over the Los Angeles Angels by a score of 7-2.
Despite Fister’s eventual dominance, the Angels hitting from their 13-0 rout the night before hardly looked as if it would slow down right away. Albert Pujols hit a towering, solo home run in the first inning, getting Los Angeles off to the early lead. This night, though, the Tigers wasted no time time tying the game on Delmon Young’s RBI single. In the second inning, the Tigers became the aggressors like the Angels the night before. After the bases were loaded, Ryan Raburn reached on an infield single scoring a run. Miguel Cabrera grounded out, scoring another run and moving two runners over. Then, Prince Fielder came up with a large two out knock, scoring both runners and making the score 5-1 Detroit. C.J. Wilson was likely having visions of last fall’s ALCS, where the Tigers roughed him up good at Comerica Park. Fister, meanwhile, settled down immensely after allowing the early run. He didn’t allow another runner until the top of the fifth, and was mixing his pitches nicely, generating plenty of strikeouts. In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers broke the game open a bit more. Brennan Boesch contributed a huge, two out double, plating Jhonny Peralta and Cabrera, making the score 7-1 Tigers. Fister stayed hot, and continued to spread some early Christmas cheer on Detroit’s mound as the annual “Christmas in July” game pushed on.
Instead of giving way, Fister continued to dominate through the late innings, giving the bullpen a much needed rest. Looking like the pitcher Detroit acquired last July, he easily maneuvered through the seventh and eighth innings, setting down eleven straight batters. Joaquin Benoit wrestled the ball away from Fister in the ninth inning, and gave up a triple to Mike Trout. Trout would score on a groundout to make it 7-2, but Pujols grounded out to put a bow on Detroit’s victory.
Big Cat: Doug Fister. That’s two consecutive superb starts in a row for Fister, this one coming against a potent lineup which had put a 13 spot on the board the night before. Finally, it seems as if the Fister of 2011 is back, which is a great sign for the Tigers. Tonight, he was flat out dominant in striking out 10 while only walking two. He frustrated the Angels’ hitters all night, and looks like he’s finally gotten back into a groove.
Stray Kitty: None. After last night’s disaster where nearly every Tiger qualified for this distinction, Wednesday, the script was flipped.
Best Play Of The Game: Both two out hits by Prince Fielder and Brennan Boesch. While Doug Fister didn’t need much support tonight, he was the recipient of two big blows by Detroit’s offense. Both clutch hits by Fielder and Boesch came with two outs, and helped pad the Tigers’ early lead through the middle innings. All season long, the Tigers have often had problems tacking on insurance runs, but tonight, that was not an issue. The team was 3-5 with runners in scoring position and two out, a key statistic which often lends itself to victories.
Worst Play Of The Game: None. No low lights tonight. The team responded well after being whipped the night before. Nothing to complain about at all.
Central Focus: The White Sox were being pounded in Boston, and the Indians were losing to Tampa Bay in the sixth inning at the time of this being published. It’s surely looking like one of those good nights the Tigers need, where all of the Central Division competition loses while Detroit wins. If the scores hold, the Tigers would pull back to 2.5 games behind.
On Deck: The Tigers try to take the series with a win tomorrow afternoon in the series finale. The game begins at 1:05 p.m. and will see Max Scherzer oppose Jerome Williams.