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Astros: Doug Fister Continues to Lead Astros’ Pitching Rotation

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Jun 8, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) throws during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 8, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) throws during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Doug Fister has been on a recent hot streak that has him leading the Astros’ rotation in several pitching categories so far this year.

It’s weird to say this, but Doug Fister has been the Astros best starter. A year after Dallas Keuchel worked an incredible 20-8 year with a 2.48 ERA to earn Cy Young Award honors, he’s joined a list of pitchers to fall off the wagon a year after being named the best.

On Monday, in the series opener against division rival Los Angeles Angels, the Astros will look to extend their winning streak with Fister on the mound to 10 games.

Fister has had a return to his 2014 season, where he went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA, fourth-best in the National League, and a 1.08 WHIP. Through 13 starts in his first season with Houston, Fister has gone 7-3 with a team-leading 3.26 ERA and 1.23 WHIP among starters. His true excellence however has come since May 1.

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Since the beginning of May, Fister has given up three earned runs or fewer in nine starts. He’s also recorded four straight quality starts, and all 10 of his quality starts have come in his last 11 outings since April 20. He’s helped lead a pitching staff that is tops in the American League in earned run average since May 1 with a 3.63 staff-ERA, after posting an A.L. worst 4.97 staff-ERA during the month of April.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Fister this season. After falling to 1-3 with a 5.56 ERA through four starts to begin the season, Fister has recorded wins in his last three games. He earned a win in his first start of the year with a 6-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on April 9. Fister went 5.0 innings and allowed three runs and two walks while striking out six.

The sinkerballer has been All-Star worthy since a rough April. He’s gone 6-0 with a 2.36 ERA. He’s also gone at least six innings in eight of his last nine starts and has held opponents to three runs or fewer all but once this season, in which he allowed six earned runs to the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals on April 14.

Recently, Fister has also had to go up against the best in baseball. He went 6.0 innings against the Texas Rangers and helped the Astros capture their lone win of the four-game series and snap Houston’s 11-game losing streak in Arlington. Fister allowed just one run despite giving up seven hits but did strike out five with one free pass.

In his next start against the St. Louis Cardinals, he held the Red Birds to two solo shot home runs in 7.1 innings to help the Astros sweep the Cardinals in a two-game series in St. Louis. Fister against allowed just one walk and held the Cardinals to five hits. He also helped out his own cause, driving in two runs with a single to help secure the 5-2 win.

Through his three starts in June, the 6’8″ seven-year righthander has gone 3-0 with a microscopic 1.40 ERA.

Next: Astros on the verge of piecing the puzzle together

There are several Astros who deserve to go to Petco Park for this year’s All-Star game. Jose Altuve owns a .341 batting average, and Will Harris has been one of the best relievers all season long, and George Springer has proven to be able to do everything at the plate and in the outfield. But Fister is making his case for a chance to play in San Diego and his strong pitching has helped pull Houston back to life after a dismal start.

***Statistics provided by baseball-reference.com***

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