Earlier this year, while still with the Seattle Mariners, Doug Fister had a stretch of three straight starts in which he worked at least seven innings and didn’t allow more than one earned run.
He didn’t pick up a victory in any of those games. The first one was the infamous night in which the Mariners blew a 5-1 lead in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals and wound up losing 6-5.
The Mariners won the second one 2-1 against the Florida Marlins, but Fister didn’t get a decision. And in the third game, Fister went the distance but took the loss in a 1-0 San Diego Padres victory.
Now Fister, traded to Detroit the day before the deadline, has accomplished the same feat for the Tigers. And this time, the Tigers won all three starts, and Fister got the win in two.
In his most recent start against Kansas City last Tuesday, Fister retired the first 18 hitters he faced. He left down 1-0 in the eighth inning – deja vu – and got a standing ovation from Detroit fans. Fister said it gave him goose bumps.
Lee on a roll
Cliff Lee is living up to expectations in Philadelphia. After earning N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors in June, when he went 5-0 with a 0.21 earned-run average, Lee is the favorite to win the same award in August after going 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA.
He has five shutouts in 27 starts, after coming into the season with five career shutouts in 218 starts.
That doesn’t even count last Wednesday, when Lee had the Cincinnati Reds shut out with two outs and no one on base in the ninth, but couldn’t get the final out. Lee is also two strikeouts shy of the first 200-K season of his career.
The only thing keeping this season from being epic for Lee is the fact that in April, May and July, he was a combined 5-7 with a 4.22 ERA.
Mayberry Jr. hits stride
The Philadelphia Phillies have received the desired boost from outfielder Hunter Pence, acquired at the trade deadline.
They’ve also received an unexpected boost from the right side via the emergence of outfielder John Mayberry Jr.
Mayberry, 28, has been shuttling between the minors and majors in recent years (he played for the Spokane Indians in 2005), and did so in the first half of this season. But since his recall on July 5, he is hitting .298 (31 for 104) in 35 games (24 starts), with nine homers, nine doubles and 29 runs batted in.
That’s led to some talk by Phillies fans that Mayberry, a first-round draft pick of the Mariners in 2002 (he didn’t sign, choosing to attend Stanford instead), should supplant ex-Mariner Raul Ibanez as the everyday left fielder. Ibanez is hitting .240 with 17 homers and 67 RBIs in 119 games.
Indians wait on LaPorta
For the Cleveland Indians, first baseman Matt LaPorta was the centerpiece of the deal that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in July 2008.
LaPorta, however, has been a disappointment, never developing into the consistent power hitter the Indians envisioned. On Tuesday, Cleveland optioned LaPorta to Triple-A Columbus to get starting pitcher Jeanmar Gomez on the roster.
LaPorta was hitting .238 with a .289 on-base percentage and only 20 walks in 319 at-bats.
“A lot of inconsistencies,” Indians manager Manny Acta said of LaPorta. “He still shows flashes of being the player we think he can be, but he needs to work on his plate discipline.”