Trying to duplicate his performance down the stretch this year, Fister looks to avenge his only loss in his last five starts Saturday night against the visiting Cleveland Indians, who are trying to stop a seven-game losing streak.
Acquired from Seattle last July 30, Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for Detroit in 2011 and won his final seven regular-season decisions, including three over Cleveland.
He’s boosted his team’s hopes of repeating as AL Central champion by going 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA over his past five starts, helping to keep the Tigers (56-50) within 2 1/2 games of first-place Chicago.
Fister (5-7, 3.77 ERA) allowed one run over eight innings and struck out nine Sunday during a 4-1 win in Toronto.
“It’s just a matter of making adjustments,” Fister told his team’s official website. “It’s a step in the right direction of where we want to be right now.”
The right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA over his previous six starts against the Indians before losing 3-2 at Cleveland on July 24. He gave up three runs over seven innings in that game while Ubaldo Jimenez (8-10, 5.08) threw six scoreless innings, although only Fister got a decision.
Jimenez is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three matchups with the Tigers this season, but he enters this game 0-3 with a 7.97 ERA in four starts overall since the All-Star break. The Indians right-hander is also 0-4 with a 9.74 ERA over his last four road outings after giving up five runs in 6 1-3 innings during a 5-1 defeat at Minnesota on Sunday.
In this start, he’ll face a Detroit team that has won six in a row and 12 of 13 at home. The Tigers haven’t won seven straight at Comerica Park since a nine-game run June 2-18, 2010.
After returning from a 3-6 road trip, Detroit recorded a resounding 10-2 win in Friday’s series opener. Prince Fielder homered for the second straight game and matched a season high with four RBIs during the Tigers’ third win in 10 contests against Cleveland (50-56) this season.
“I think we’re just getting good pitches and not missing them - that seems to be what happens,” Fielder said. “See it, hit it, pretty much. That’s what is easiest for me.”
The loss extended the Indians’ season-high skid to seven and was their eighth in a row on the road. They haven’t dropped eight straight overall since an 11-game losing streak Sept. 13-24, 2009, which was capped by three defeats to Detroit.
Cleveland, which has fallen 8 1/2 games behind the White Sox, is on its longest losing streak away from home since a franchise-worst 15-game skid Aug. 30-Oct. 4, 2009.
“We have to just keep our chin up and go out there again,” manager Manny Acta said. “It’s never easy but you still have to go out there and play. No one is going to feel sorry for you and give you a game. When you are playing like this, they want to beat you.”