Category Archives: Doug Fister

a new set of National fists


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

All of a sudden, Doug Fister is being traded to the Nationals for two left-handed pitchers with short names (Ian Krol, Robbie Ray) and one utility dude with a long name (Steve Lombardozzi). All of these cats are on the young side. None of them are everyday players: Krol is a reliever, Lombardozzi is an off-the-bench type, and Ray is a small child who has yet to pitch above AA. None of them are immediate impact players. None of them are tall majestic creatures with Hulk Hands. None of them have hilarious names. This is the trade that has been made.

They are all much cheaper, even combined, than Doug Fister alone, and this will theoretically allow the Tigers to take care of some outstanding financial business, such as sealing up Max Scherzer in the Tiger vault, and the acquisition of a Real Live Human Closer. So there is that.

I have been trying awfully hard to come up with a way to make this seem like a substantial win for the Tigers, and I just can’t quite do it. I guess I understand, in that I want the things Mr. Dombrowski wants (Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, winning, striped polo shirts, etc), and retaining Mister Fister would make that more difficult? I guess? Striped polo shirts don’t grow on freebie trees, you know.

But I am not going to lie, I’m having a lot of trouble with this one. I am sure you could do some sort of complicated mathematic gymnastics to make a lefty reliever and a lefty prospect-ish pitcher and a scrappy utilikilt of a National multiply by one another to equal an established starting pitcher with a solid gold headline name like Doug Fister. Alas, I am but a humble person-who-draws-stuff. I am not good at math, especially not the fancy creative math that involves multiple blackboards and dramatic camera angles during movie montages about misunderstood genius, and I strongly suspect that it is this very type of math that is required to make sense of this trade from a Tigers perspective.

Deep breath, in DD we trust, keep calm and blog on. Here’s Brad Ausmus as a Maccabee. It’s still Chanukah, you know. And this news may have disrupted my Chanukah cartoon-posting plans just a bit, but we can still have this tonight.

Advertisements

Things of late, as Terrible Cartoons, of course.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I’m just going to lead with that one because it makes me happy in my optic nerves. Everyone in the wide world of Tigers fans has his or her own opinion about the team. There is naturally a great deal of disagreement. But there is one thing upon which we can all agree, one thing that may be safely and universally acknowledged as an unequivocally beautiful sight: Alex Avila, pleased with his own walk-off hit, being doused in purple Gatorade by an almost unhealthily giddy Papa Grande. It is a fine thing, a fine thing indeed.

Especially when Avila’s jersey then gets all wet and it’s all sticking to his torso and it’s a home jersey so it’s white and bits get translucent when soaked, and you get all mad at FSD for not getting longer and more torso-inclusive shots post-soaking, and now I’ve said too much. Thank you, Papa Grande.

This keeps on happening, and I suppose it too is a fine thing. Every silver lining, of course, has its cloud, and Scherzer’s high K-counts are still tagging along with the logically attendant high pitch counts, but for now we will accept it.

Doug Fister injured his groin. The jokes came thick and fast and inevitably. Everyone is just real sorry about that, Mister Fister, but what do you expect from us? We are baseball fans. We are all ten years old.

Miguel Cabrera’s ankle has been sore for a while, and Leyland is finally paying attention, giving him some DH time and just now a day off. I haven’t seen anything more specific than “sore” to describe the State of Miggy’s Ankle, aside from this Mothership blurb earlier in the month:

During the Boston series, Miguel Cabrera fouled a ball off his left shin and, as a result, the third baseman has been experiencing some “drainage” in his ankle, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said on Sunday morning.

“He’s just getting some drainage in his ankle from that,” Rand said. “His [lower] leg gets sore just the more he’s on it.”
Jason Beck/Anthony Odoardi, DetroitTigers.com

What in the world does that mean? How can an ankle be experiencing ‘drainage’? That sounds anatomically difficult and worrying. I cannot know, I can only draw.

Drew Smyly is back! He got a spot start and should be sticking around in the bullpen even when he gets bumped from the rotation.

The persistence of Delmon Young’s mustache should be a source of concern for us all. But he has also been on a bit of a hitting tear lately. Does this… does this mean that the mustache is actually doing the hitting for him?? I think this is a possibility that we need to deeply consider. It would explain how that upper lip d├ęcor has hung around this long, despite (what must surely be) the strong recommendations of everyone who knows Delmon personally and also has eyes.

Just throwing this one in for good luck. The mantises have been back in attendance, all over MLB, and yes, they have been spotted– and occasionally photographed— in Detroit. Praise be!

Terrible Cartoons from a Not-Terrible Weekend


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I will be honest: although I did watch the entire game yesterday, after that top of the 10th I was quite thoroughly mired in Despair. It just seemed like the sort of thing that the Tigers absolutely do not overcome. I was resigned to my fate, willing to watch the sad final eep of the Tigers as they finished off the game, probably with something horrible like a weak groundout double play.

Then a whole bunch of magical baseball things happened, ending with MIGUEL CABRERA LEADING HIS FELID TROOPS TO VICTORY! Also, one of the most epic Super Best Friends hugs ever.

The pure, beautiful, boundless love between Prince and Miggy is one of the greatest things about this season and I think you will all agree.

Austin Jackson was instrumental in that last push to unexpected victory. He also had two triples on the day. Austin Jackson loves getting three bases at once and Comerica likes to reward him for that very specific affection.

The less said about Joe West, the better, but there had to be a cartoon.

Obligatory (?) Doug Fister with Hulk Hands doodle from Saturday’s complete game Fiesta Tigres masterpiece.

I guess the Tigers acquired Jeff Baker from the Cubs at some point, with the idea that he will be the right-handed bat that Ryan Raburn (DL’d with a wonky thumb, or at least that’s what they’re saying; could be DL’d with Persistent Awfulness) never quite was this season. The Cubbie haul has not yet been named. Verdict: meh, but I am a little concerned on behalf of Quintin Berry for the reason illustrated above.

Where in the World Tigers system is Danny Worth? He had been down, then he got called up, but now I think he’s down again? Maybe? I actually have no idea. I doubt that Danny Worth even knows where he is anymore. He has been up and down and down and up so many times this season that he’s practically two quarks, or at least this awkward yo-yo.

stop the skid


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

True story: I drew this cartoon before the game started, with vague intentions of this post being something along the lines of, “Come on now, Cats, we do not want to be riding a skid into Boston.” Then, of course, they won, and I threw in the stop sign. THEN I’m about to start writing, and I pull up the Mothership to check the box score, and…

Fister, Peralta help Tigers halt skid in finale.

Thanks for stealing my headline/cartoon thunder, Mothership! And while we’re at it, stop reading my freakin’ mind, ok? It’s CREEPY.

Skid Stoppers:

Doug Fister. One run, 8 innings. Nine Ks. No extra-base hits allowed. A positively Verlanderian pitch count. Doug Fister had had enough of losing on the road and decided that there would be no more of that. I was listening to the radio broadcast and they could not stop talking about the size of his hands, which left open a whole other field of unspoken speculation. Not exactly what I expect from my baseball radio, but, you know, I’m ok with it.

Jhonny Peralta. Two home runs. Two home runs. Two home runs. Two Hhome Rhuns!

Stopping this skid was critical, because the Tigers are heading into Boston, and that means they’re entering RotT territory. The most important thing being my mental and emotional well-being, obviously the Tigers have to be on point when they’re on my turf. There are some other side considerations at the same time, of course: little things like keeping up with the Wrong Sox, and salvaging the road trip, etc etc. Minor stuff. Keep RotT happy and you’ll be ok, Tigers.

Of course, last time around, the Tigers handed the Sox a bunch of wins, even though things were going badly in Boston at the time. The Red Sox are a jumbled mass of drama, failure, and overly strident emotional characters right now, but that does not mean that this series doesn’t have the potential to be a trap. The Tigers have had trouble in Boston in recent years. Care must be taken. Nothing is to be taken for granted.

Going into that series on a skid of loose shale and endless losing, that’s just not the position that you want. The Tigers still have an Ugh, No Thanks record on this trip– one day of Mister Fister putting his no doubt enormous foot down and Jhonny putting his modestly-scaled bat up couldn’t change that. But they’re heading to Boston on a positive immediate note.

The Big Cats just need to pitch like they’re supposed to pitch (Justin, lookin’ at you) and everyone needs to stop wasting Super Best Friends contributions. Maybe sacrifice Ryan Raburn to the baseball gods in some sort of ritual that I will leave to your imagination (it involves dead muskrats and vanilla extract, I’ll tell you that much). Get this done, and perhaps Paws can get off the skidding slope altogether.

super best friends


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Good
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder sure can hit some baseballs. They can hit a baseball a long distance.

Now, it’s only been three games, but in those three games as a 3-4 combo Miggy and Prince have been everything we’ve dreamed thus far. They are best lineup buddies. They are super in both the superlative and hero senses. They are magical and lovely and by their powers combined even greater heights of magical loveliness will be attained.

Good
Justin Verlander. Everything about Justin Verlander.

Bad
Doug Fister is on the DL. (Insert ten minutes of hysterical screaming here.) He has a ‘left costochondral strain’, which means that he over-stretched/strained the cartilage connecting his ribs to his sternum. It’s not an oblique injury, or at least that’s what they’re telling us right now, because they know how that one little word will send us all into death spirals of panic.

Ha ha! Shows what you know, team! I’ll go into a death spiral of panic ANYWAYS! You can’t stop my Tigers-related neuroses!!

The only thing Fister can do about this particular injury is rest. This is both a good thing (noninvasive and uncomplicated healing procedure) and a bad thing (no quick and solid fix, no real way to prevent it from happening again).

We’re not yet sure who will replace him in the rotation, because I guess it builds character to make us panic a little longer. Good thing we had that prolonged competition for the 5th starter spot, though, right? That means we have a bunch of cats in the minors right now who are all starter-ready and chomping at the proverbial bit, right? Right??

Good
Alex Avila is fresh and not yet so exhausted that he can barely heft a bat. It is nice to see, and the results of such freshness are also nice to see. Beardy and nice. Walkoff nice.

Bad
Max Scherzer on Sunday. Seven runs in 2.2 innings, with no injury excuses (so far as we know). Even under normal circumstances this would be somewhat worrying; having just lost Mister Fister, it is THOROUGHLY worrying. Consider me duly worried.

(Use the blue eye, Max! The blue eye! Stop pitching with the brown!)

Good
The fact that even with two starters leaving games early, the bullpen was effective and helped keep both games from getting out of paw. This is like the exact opposite of what happened with the Red Sox, and is in fact rather heartening if you can ignore the reasons why we had to see so much of the ‘pen in this series.

Bad
Jose Valverde blowing his first save in a million years or whatever it was. Of course then he went on to officially get the Win, so… I guess that’s something. A terrible something that does little more than point to the foolishness of statistics like Wins, but, you know, maybe it will make him feel better about himself deep within his own heart.

Good
Miguel Cabrera making funny, awkward-acrobatic plays at third.

Bad
Miguel Cabrera making equally funny, but much more inept plays at third.

Good/Bad
I really personally enjoyed the heck out of what the Tigers did in this series, ridiculous and unreliable as much of it may have been. HOWEVER, as soon as the Tigers buzz wears off, I am going to be freaked out by the (non)performance of the Red Sox. Not as much as many in Boston, who are already crying ULTIMATE DOOM and all that, but a good amount of freaked out. This is a team that is doing its best to announce that it has capital-P-Problems, and if you think Detroit sports radio can get crazy when Detroit teams are starting to lose, let me assure you, it is as nothing compared to Boston sports radio.

Good
Because these games were all broadcast on the Red Sox TV network, I have not yet had to see/hear whatever fresh chthonic horror is being visited upon us this season under the guise of April in the D.

Doug Fister is all about the Ks.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Is Doug Fister seducing you? NO. His sexy strikeouts are seducing you. You’re a baseball fan, you are susceptible. Doug Fister was all about the strikeouts on Sunday and you love it.

He lasted 8 innings, throwing 101 pitches. Efficient deliciousness! He allowed two runs, only one of which was earned. He allowed four hits, only one an extra base hit, and that was a Fukudome home run very late in his outing. He walked one. He cut his usual dashingly overlong figure on the mound.

He struck out thirteen. Thirteen. That’s the most Ks he’s thrown in any single game this season. It is the most he’s thrown in any single game in his career. Thirteen Ks in 8 innings is a whole freakin’ lot of strikeouts. I was going to say it was more than even Justin Verlander had thrown, but no, he had that game this year where he struck out 14 Diamondbacks and sent them whimpering away as if he were some sort of snake-killing mongoose. Anyways.

While Fister didn’t get a ton of run support, he did get enough for the win. This is more than he could have said in the first half of the season. Ubaldo Jimenez was pretty good, but Fister was great. This is why we got him, right? Decisive pitching performances against division rivals come September as summer ticks over into fall… that’s the whole POINT of having acquired Doug Fister, isn’t it? It is. It is, and it is particularly lovely to see it work out so well.

Other bits:

–BRENNAN BOESCH IS DONE FOR THE YEAR. His thumb will require surgery, and although they are trying to get him in as quickly as they can, it is pretty much a given that he won’t be ready to return this season. Ugh. No offense to Andy Dirks or the Rhino or whatever, but really… ugh.

–Omir Santos is finally up, so we can expect Alex Avila to get a break. At some point. Probably.

–I got multiple reports, via Twitter and email, that there was a mantis in the Detroit stands for the Sunday game. A mantis! A very large mantis! In the stands! With the fans!

Of course that was the game where the Tigers ripped off 18 runs. This is clearly no coincidence.

–Where is the evil Jason Kipnis? He’s on the DL with a hamstring thing. Although he could be back soonish, it should not be for the Tigers series. I believe I speak for us all when I say: GOOD.

Santiago saves Fister… seems like it should be a bad pun, but isn’t.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Doug Fister nearly threw a perfect game, so here’s a cartoon about the fact that he’s really tall! Yeah, I don’t know. The more I watch him pitch, the more he starts looking like this on the mound to me. Run with it.

But that really happened. The Royals did not get on base until the 7th inning, when Alex Gordon led off with a double. Alex Gordon is some sort of evil Tiger murder machine and should be reported to the SPCA anyways. Detroit got six PERFECT innings from Doug Fister. It’s like he saw how nervous we were getting about Brad Penny, how worried we were after Scherzer’s latest outing, and he said, “No no, don’t worry. You can relax. Really. I got this.”

Then the Tigers won on a 10th inning walkoff home run hit by Ramon Santiago. Yes.

A walkoff home run. Hit by

RAMON

SANTIAGO

What a weird game.