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Just As We All Expected, Doug Fister Tosses A Complete Game, One-Hitter Against The Defending American League Champions

Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Indians

Back on July 28 with just three days remaining before the trade deadline, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski held a press conference after news of David Price’s injury became public knowledge. In it, he said that the team felt “comfortable with Doug Fister moving into the rotation.” This line was openly mocked, because, at the time, Fister had a 6.04 ERA in 25.1 innings of work, while opponents were hitting .299 with an .888 OPS against him. I don’t see how those numbers could bring anyone “comfort”, but apparently Dombrowski is a big schadenfreude guy.

Since Dombrowski made those comments, Fister has made four starts and has a 3.62 ERA, which is the second best ERA on the Red Sox staff. It’s better than Eduardo Rodriguez, better than Rick Porcello, better than — wait for it — Chris Sale. The only starting pitcher in the rotation with a lower ERA than Fister over this stretch of roughly a month would be Drew Pomeranz (1.96), who has been really good for the last three months. However, Fister’s ERA over this sample was largely aided by his performance on Tuesday night in Cleveland.

And that performance didn’t exactly get off to the best start. The bad news is that with a 1-1 count to the first batter of the game that he faced, Francisco Lindor put a Fister curveball into the first row of seats out there in right field. Not the most preferable way to start a baseball game, in my honest opinion. The good news is that Fister threw a no-hitter the rest of the way.

For nine innings, Fister kept the Indians off balance by changing up pitch sequences, great fastball location and no wasted pitches. Normally, you’d see guys waste a pitch out of the zone with an 0-2 count, but Fister was punching guys out on 0-2 counts with fastballs on the corner. Just a beautiful thing to see. That one home run was all that the Indians could muster against Fisty McAssKnuckles, as the veteran shoved for a complete game, one-hitter with six strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Sure, it’s easier to pitch with a big lead, but the Red Sox didn’t really start to pile it on until the late innings. This was a 3-1 ballgame going into the seventh inning, and then the Red Sox exploded for three runs in the seventh, and three more in the eighth. Eduardo Nunez, as he’s been known to do since coming to Boston, went off for a two-hit, 5 RBI night with his ninth home run of the season, five of which have come with the Red Sox. Since joining the team, Nunez is second on the Red Sox in batting average (.330) and third in OPS (.913).

Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. all had two-hit games themselves. Bradley went deep in the fifth for his 14th homer of the year, but was lifted from the game after jamming his thumb on home plate when he scored on Nunez’s seventh inning two-run double.

It doesn’t sound super serious, so in the long term this shouldn’t be overly concerning. But in the short term, as in tonight, as in the game that Bradley is not going to be playing in, it hurts. Tonight, the Red Sox are faced with the challenge of attempting to defeat Corey Kluber, who has a 1.84 ERA in 15 starts since returning from the disabled list on June 1. That, by the way, is the lowest ERA in the majors over that span. A span in which the league average is a 4.18 ERA. What I’m trying to say is that Kluber is really fucking good, and it sucks that Bradley will be out of the lineup because he has homered off Kluber twice in his career.

Final score: Red Sox 9, Indians 1