Doug Fister went 8-1 after becoming a Tiger last year, averaging 7 innings pitched per start in his 10 starts in August and September. Fister is one of the main reasons that the Tigers were able to win the Central Division by 15 games last year.
Everyone is aware that Justin Verlander needs to and will be Justin Verlander down the stretch for this team, dominating in his starts, going deep into the game and winning the majority of his starts.
But, with Fister’s run last year and what he has done over his last 5 starts, 2.50 ERA and averaging 7.2 IP per start puts this team in a position to win every time he takes the mound too.
With Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez rounding out the rotation, that puts the Tigers in a position to win at least 1, if not 2 of those games every time either of the three start, even if it may be the offense that wins that game.
Porcello is hit or miss in his starts and Sanchez should be at the worst, decent the rest of the year meaning the Tiger should expect to win half of those games those two start. Each should expect 12 starts the rest of the year, which is not asking for too much and the Tigers can rely on 12 wins from those two.
Scherzer has only had one start in the last 8 when he didn’t go at least 6 innings and the team has only lost 2 of those starts. That would equate to 9 wins down the stretch for the Tigers, but depending that heavily on the sometime erratic Scherzer may be asking for too much.
Even if Scherzer the Tigers can win 7 of his remaining starts that would give the Tigers 19 wins out of the #3,4 and 5 starters.
This is where Verlander and Fister come in. Out of 12 starts for Verlander, expecting 10 wins should not be too much to ask from the reigning MVP and ace of your staff. He should be expected to pitch the team to victory in August, September and October if you want to be successful.
The way Fister pitched the last month and in August and September of last year leads me to believe that the Tigers should win 10 of his 12 remaining starts too.
With the ability that Fister and Verlander have to go into the 7th and 8th innings in most of their starts allows Leyland to use his bull pen more often when the other starters are struggling, allowing him to be quicker to get relief help and keep games closer, allowing the offense a chance to come back and win a few games they wouldn’t have been able to if Leyland was unsure of how long his other starters can go.
But Fister is such an economical pitcher he can almost always get through the 7th inning and Verlander has had 63 straight starts where he has gone at least 6 innings, always shortening the game for the bull pen and giving them rest.
Believing these numbers would put the Tigers at 93 wins which would be more than enough to win the division.
Now, of course the offense has to play its part and score runs, which they have struggled to do on this current road trip. But, since the Tigers have Fister in addition to Verlander instead of 4 pitchers behind him that you hope can win half their games, it puts the Tigers in a much better position to win the division.
And Fister performance last year and over his last 5 starts has to make you believe that he will again put this team on his back and help carry them to the post season.