Red Sox: Doug Fister makes team debut vs Los Angeles Angels
By Sean Penney
Doug Fister makes his debut for the Boston Red Sox against the Los Angles Angels. What can we expect from the veteran right-hander?
The Boston Red Sox turn to another option to fill the patchwork back of their rotation, as Doug Fister makes his team debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels.
This start comes with a revenge narrative for Fister, who was released by the Angels without being given the opportunity to pitch in the majors this season. Boston scooped him up and immediately plugged him into the No. 5 spot in their rotation.
Losing a series at home to an Angels team missing the injured Mike Trout would be disastrous for a Red Sox team that has dropped mere percentage points behind the New York Yankees in a tight division race. Boston came away with a win after retiring the number of David Ortiz on Friday and the pitching staff has had difficulty retiring hitters ever since.
That puts a lot on the shoulders of Fister. He doesn’t have to dominate, just keep Boston in the game to put them in position to walk away with a series win.
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Is he capable of at least doing that much? He’s had a solid career, yet it seems like a lifetime ago since he’s been a reliable rotation option. The last time we saw Fister in the majors was last year with the Houston Astros, when he went 12-13 with a 4.64 ERA. Actually, those numbers are better than half of the other four starters in Boston’s current rotation.
A quality start is all the Red Sox are looking for from Fister. Last at least six innings so that they don’t have to burn the bullpen to cover for him. Allow three runs or less so that an inconsistent offense has a shot at outscoring the Angels. That seems obtainable.
If you’re looking for reasons for optimism, note that Fister has had success pitching in Fenway Park. In four career starts in Boston, he’s 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He’s also been good against the Angels, posting a 3-3 record and 2.78 ERA over 12 career starts.
Boston shouldn’t need to rely on Fister for long. He’s holding down the fort until Eduardo Rodriguez returns, which could be soon. E-Rod is scheduled to make a rehab start in Double-A Portland on Thursday. He’ll need to make at least two minor league starts before being activated, which potentially puts his return about two weeks away.
All Fister has to do is avoid getting shelled in the meantime. E-Rod’s return will bump him back to Triple-A, but a couple of solid starts during his brief stint in the rotation could earn him a spot start down the line.
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While his debut start may be about showing the Angels they were wrong to let him go, ultimately he’s looking to show the Red Sox why they shouldn’t make the same mistake.