Interesting move to start Doug Fister versus the Astros in Game 3.
The Houston Astros faced a pitcher last night who will get some votes for the Cy Young Award. Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game and he finished second in the AL with a 2.90 ERA, the Astros had his number. He allowed seven runs in five innings, leading to the 8-2 win in Game 1 of ALDS.
Without looking past Game 2, the Red Sox made a peculiar announcer before last night’s game. They announced that Doug Fister would get the start in Game 3 of the ALDS in Boston. Yes, the same Fister who cratered last season with the Astros.
With Drew Pomeranz facing Dallas Keuchel later today at Minute Maid Park, it’s an interesting matchup between two quality lefties. Pomeranz pitched well versus the Astros in his last start of the season, only allowing one run in six innings. He only struck out three Stros hitters though.
No matter the outcome, Fister will face the Houston lineup. We still don’t know who will be the starter for Houston in Game 3. It will most likely be Brad Peacock, unless he is needed in today’s game. Charlie Morton or Lance McCullers could also get the nod. Hopefully, A.J. Hinch will not need to use Justin Verlander again in the series.
Back to Fister, why him? This guy opened the season without a job. The Red Sox brought him in following David Price’s injury. He has done a decent job, but does he deserve a start in Game 3? This seems like a mismatch, but that’s why they play the game.
Price is serving as the team’s long reliever at the moment, so the only other starters would be Eduardo Rodriguez or Rick Porcello. After winning the 2016 Cy Young Award, Porcello has come back to earth in 2017. Porcello has also struggled versus the Astros in three career starts with a 5.49 ERA. With 17 regular season losses, this may make the Red Sox hesitant.
Rodriguez was having a good season, but the Astros bats knocked him out early in his last start. He finished the regular season with a 6-7 record with a 4.19 ERA. As you can see, the Red Sox don’t really have a strong option for Game 3.
He has a strong playoffs track record.
On last night’s Talking Stros, Jeremy Booth of Program 15 joined the show for a segment. We asked him if he was surprised Fister will take the mound on Game 3. He said that typically they go with who’s hot at the moment. Then why Fister?
Fister did struggle in September, but pitched well against the Astros in the last series. He pitched 5 1/3 innings versus Houston allowing three runs and striking out five. The Red Sox could feel like he could pitch well and it would leave Porcello available out of the pen.
Fister also has great postseason stats in his career, including a 1.78 ERA in five starts. Look for Jose Altive and Brian McCann to have good success versus Fister. Let’s play it one game at a time and cheer on the Astros today in Game 2.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***