The right-hander tries for a third straight winning start to help the AL Central-leading Tigers avoid a third consecutive loss Tuesday night against the visiting Kansas City Royals.
After posting a 6.14 ERA in his first three starts after Detroit acquired him from Seattle, Fister (6-13, 3.35 ERA) has been dominant in his last two. He allowed a run in seven innings of a 10-1 win over Cleveland on Aug. 20, then yielded five hits in seven innings of a 2-0 victory at Tampa Bay on Thursday.
“My focus every time I go out there, use my fastball and my secondary (pitches) off that,” Fister said.
Manager Jim Leyland is grateful the Tigers (73-61) were able to add a pitcher with the kind of potential Fister holds.
“You might have better stuff sometimes, but … he knows exactly what he wants to do with the next pitch,” Leyland said.
Fister, however, dropped to 0-2 with a 5.21 ERA in three starts against the Royals after surrendering five runs in seven innings of a 5-1 loss April 14 while with the Mariners.
He’ll try to improve on that mark and help Detroit avoid its first three-game skid since Aug. 7-10 - a stretch that began with a 4-3 loss to Kansas City. The Tigers, who have a five-game division lead over Chicago, had won eight of nine before losing 11-4 at Minnesota on Sunday.
They fell 9-5 to the Royals on Monday.
“It’s pitching, pitching and pitching that decide most games,” Leyland said. “We got some very good pitching for a while, but now we haven’t gotten that in the last two days.”
Though Kansas City is last in the Central and 5-8 versus Detroit this season, it has scored nine runs three times while winning five of its last nine.
“We got a buzzsaw with Kansas City,” Leyland said. “People need to realize that isn’t the team that fell way out of the race. They are very dangerous.”
After enduring a 2-for-15 stretch with nine strikeouts, Gordon is 10 for 14 with two homers in his last three games. He’s hit .315 with two home runs in 13 games versus Detroit this season.
Scheduled Kansas City starter Jeff Francis(notes) (5-14, 4.82) has a 3.21 ERA while losing both of his starts versus Detroit in 2011, but has not received a single run of support. He went eight innings and allowed three runs in a 3-0 loss at Comerica Park on May 14.
The left-hander was 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA in his previous four starts before he allowed two runs in six innings of a 9-6 win over Toronto on Thursday in his first appearance in his native Canada.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes) is just 2 for 13 against Francis, but 9 for 15 with three RBIs in his last four games after a three-hit night in the opener. Teammate Victor Martinez(notes) had two hits and is 8 for 16 with six RBIs in his last five contests.