Fister looks to stay hot as Red Sox host A's (Sep 13, 2017)

BY AP • September 14, 2017

BOSTON -- Doug Fister has gone from being an extra pitcher to being a potential postseason factor for the Boston Red Sox.

Picked up off the scrap heap from the Los Angeles Angels, Fister began his Boston career slowly. However, when left-hander David Price again went down with an elbow problem, the 33-year-old right-hander has taken off -- and now has to be seriously considered for the postseason rotation if the club in fact makes it to the October fun.

Fister, 5-2 with a 2.79 ERA in seven starts with Price out, faces Oakland rookie Jharel Cotton on Wednesday night in the second contest of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox blasted the A's 11-1 on Tuesday night for their fifth win in six games. Boston (82-62) moved four games up on the losing New York Yankees (78-66) atop the American League East.

Asked after Fister's latest start -- and win -- if he and his team got more than they expected when they brought Fister to the roster, manager John Farrell said: "Not in terms of the consistent performance.

"We knew we were getting a guy with a veteran presence we felt like we needed to add to the starting depth ... but to say that when we got him from the Angels (off waivers) that he would be running a streak of starts consecutively like he is, no -- he's surpassed the initial expectation. He's doing a great job."

Fister also happens to be the only member of the Red Sox pitching staff who has posted a postseason victory in his career -- and he has four of them, one against Boston.

The Red Sox' potential playoff starting staff would start with Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz, who have 31 wins between them. Then there is the group of Fister, the injured Price, who is trying to work his way back, 17-game loser Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who notched his first win since May 26 on Tuesday night.

Fister gets the ball, doesn't waste any time and throws the next pitch. He keeps his fielders involved. He keeps the ball on the ground and in the park. He hasn't allowed a homer in his past three starts and has given up only three during his seven-game run.

And Wednesday he has a chance to get his career record to 83-83.

He has gone at least seven innings in four consecutive starts. In all four games, he was scored on in the first inning and not scored on again. In fact, hitters are 8-for-20 in the four first innings and 6-for-83 from the second innings on -- all adding up to a 3-1 record and a 1.50 ERA.

He is 8-7 with a 2.88 ERA in 17 career lifetime starts against the Athletics. Fister has not opposed Oakland this year.

Cotton (7-10, 5.82 ERA) is coming off a rough start in which he allowed three home runs and seven runs in five innings against the Houston Astros. He has yielded 12 homers in his last 33 2/3 innings.

He is pitching with a heavy heart as his home island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands was wiped out by Hurricane Irma.

"It's been on my mind of course. Back home it's a total disaster. The whole town was wiped out," Cotton said. "Thinking about home is always on my mind."

Cotton has never faced the Red Sox.

The seven players on the current Oakland roster who have faced Fister are hitting a combined .189 lifetime against him. Matt Joyce is 1-for-12 and Marcus Semien 1-for-10.

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