Mike Fiers is a very interesting situation. After underwhelming performances in his first nine starts of the season, Astros manager A.J. Hinch took him out of the starting rotation replacing him with right-hander and very successful long reliever Brad Peacock. However, the day after, No. 3 starter Charlie Morton went on the 10-day disabled list with a right lat strain.
That seemed to be all of the motivation Fiers needed. In his 10th start of the season, he was stellar. On May 30th against the Minnesota Twins, Fiers gave up two earned runs on five hits and three walks, striking out eight in six innings of work.
There was a clear reason why Fiers was so successful in his last outing. It was the only start all season in which he did not give up a home run. This season, he gives up an average of 3.08 long balls per nine innings. To put that into perspective, he averages 3.42 walks per nine innings.
There is no doubt whether or not Fiers has been terrible in 2017. But, if there is any month to turn his season around, it is June because he has done it before. In five starts in June of 2016, Fiers had a 2.86 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP and a .278 batting average against. Those two numbers may not be fantastic, but again, he lives and dies by the home run. In June of 2016, Fiers only gave up three home runs in 28.1 innings.
Fiers is fighting for his baseball life right now. June is the opportunity he has been waiting for. Astros fans will see if he can continue to earn his place in the starting rotation.
***Stats provided by FanGraphs, MLB.com and Baseball Reference***