On July 28 David Price was placed on the disabled list, after making his last start on July 22. That very day that Dombrowski and the Red Sox announced that they were putting Price on the DL, they held a press conference only three days out from the MLB trade deadline.
With all sorts of big name pitchers on the market, many expected the Red Sox to be in contention for one with Price being shelved. Instead Dombrowski announced that Doug Fister would be taking Price’s spot in the rotation, and that they “felt comfortable” with the move.
Doug Fister had pitched only 25.1 innings with the Sox, holding a 6.04 ERA, and a 1.82 WHIP. Hitters were also batting just under .300 against Fister. If that brings Dombrowski comfort then hell, might as well throw the pitching coach out every fifth day.
Now looking back, everyone (including myself), who mocked Dombrowski for his absurd comment couldn’t have been more off. Fister took the mound on July 31st and was absolutely filthy, going 7.2 innings giving up only 5 hits and 2 earned runs against the Cleveland Indians, who are the best team in the A.L.
Fister hasn’t looked back since taking Price’s spot in the rotation. He has a 2.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and opposing hitters are batting under .200 against him. His 2.79 ERA over his past seven starts is the sixth best ERA over that time, and only Corey Kluber has averaged more innings pitched per start than Fister during this run.
Does Dombrowski deserve credit for the run that Fister is on? Well yes, and no.
While Dombrowski does deserve credit for bringing Fister onto the team in the first place, it’s a pure stroke of luck that he has pitched the way he has. Fister has all of the sudden inserted himself into the Red Sox playoff rotation, and honestly I have more faith in him right now to win a big game than anyone else in this rotation.
Fister has had success at the Major League level in the past, (most notable 2014 with the Nationals) so it’s not that hard to believe that a veteran could catch fire once again.
Amidst all the scandal surrounding the Red Sox about stealing signs, maybe the team is using Fister and Applegate as a way to motivate themselves.
Either way seeing Doug Fister pitch has all the sudden become must watch TV. Especially considering he has been able to beat teams that Chris Sale hasn’t.
With 19 games to go and a 3.5 lead over the Yankees, the Red Sox are going to need every good outing they can get from Fister and he looks ready to delver in a big way.