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Fister still working out mechanical glitches

Jul 7, 2015, 10:56 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

Doug Fister, even-keeled as they get, strives for nothing more than consistency when he pitches. Which made Monday night’s start against the Reds — and a few others since he returned from the disabled list — particularly frustrating for the Nationals right-hander.

“For me, there’s some inconsistency there on the mound,” he said. “I’m not making quality pitches at times that are needed, especially. Just fighting with myself a lot, trying to get the ball down, really trying to get into a rhythm, and it’s a battle for me. I’ve got a lot of work to do the next five days.”

To hear him speak about it, you’d think Fister was rocked by Cincinnati. Truth is, he allowed only two runs (one earned) in six innings during what eventually became a 3-2 loss.

The final line didn’t entirely describe Fister’s outing, though. He gave up eight hits, at least one in every inning, needed a nice catch by Danny Espinosa on Billy Hamilton’s scorched line drive to second to escape a bases-loaded jam and also set the table for a run to score with a wild throw to first base on a routine comebacker.

“I picked it up and rushed it and threw it in the stands,” he said of the error, which came on a wet field. “Not that it was slippery, not that it was muddy. I didn’t execute and get it done.”

Fister has now made four starts since returning from a month-long stint on the DL with forearm tightness, and the results have been mixed. He sports a 3.70 ERA but has only two quality starts during this span and only once has reached the seventh inning.

“He’s given our team a chance to stay in games and win games,” manager Matt Williams said. “He kept them off-balance for the most part tonight, into the sixth, through the sixth.”

The good news for Fister is that he no longer is dealing with the forearm issue that hampered him through the season’s first six weeks. The bad news is he’s still trying to rediscover the form that made him such an effective and consistent force for the Nationals last season.

“That was more physical there,” he said of his early season struggles. “Now it’s more mechanical, trying to get in a good rhythm of being consistent with … whether it’s arm slot, whether it’s body position. There’s a lot of times I don’t try to focus on mechanics too much. But there are things you do need to do to be in the right position to throw a baseball. So I’ve got to really lock down and focus on those things and make sure I execute.”

  1. TimDz - Jul 7, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    “I picked it up and rushed it and threw it in the stands,” he said of the error, which came on a wet field. “Not that it was slippery, not that it was muddy. I didn’t execute and get it done.”

    Consumate professional comment. Not making excuses, just saying he made a bad play.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    Giolito, Trea Turner and Joe Cool are all in the Top 50!

    • Doc - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:00 PM

      I particularly like to see Joe Cool there. However they list the Top Prospects on the Nats’ Official Website,

      I always thought that Joe Cool was underrated since the trade. Giolito and Turner were always givens. Rossco seems to have stepped ahead of Cole in my estimation. Wad ya think GhostMeister???

      • Danny - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:01 PM

        Cole has had a pretty awful year.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:21 PM

        Cole had one very bad, no good, terrible, awful game, the start against the Barves. It was really (xN) terrible, but it was just one start. He’s appeared in two other games and in those two games his line is:

        7.1 IP; 5H; 8K 0BB; 2 R; 2ER; 1 HR. He also earned his first big league save (if one values the “save” stat).

        I’m not saying that Ross hasn’t passed Cole, because he clearly has. But let’s not write Cole off because of one bad start either.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:56 PM

        Doc – Cole has the Scherzer/JZim repertoire of fastball, change, slider and curve but I wouldn’t consider any of them “+” pitches until he changes that open over the top iron Mike delivery.

        Cole’s fastball velo has dropped to a 92 average and MLBers got it well. His curveball has swing and miss action and his changeup off of the fastball worked. The slider has late break but isn’t a strikeout pitch.

        Time will tell and he needs to watch Scherzer and JZim’s mechanics. It can be learned.

    • wearenationals - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      Three in the top 31… wow!

      • therealjohnc - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:29 PM

        Two in the top 10!

        #2 Giolito
        #9 Turner
        #31 Ross

        Returns for some other teams:

        Mets: two prospects, #14 and #48
        Braves: two prospects, #26 and #32
        Phillies: two prospects, #5 and #12
        Marlins: one prospect, #46
        Orioles: None.

      • Doc - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:39 PM

        Yeah, even the Cinci announcers noticed it. Last year for the tall guy it was at 88-90. This year it seems to be hovering around 85-86,

      • Doc - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:40 PM

        Our top 2 are ahead of the other guys’ top 2!

      • wearenationals - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM

        ..and i dont see any Padres prospects. I think Rizzo won that trade – hands down!

      • ward5nedc - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        Dodgers have 4 in top 20 including #1.

      • jd - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:22 PM

        This speaks to how great a trade Rizzo pulled off this past off season. Imagine 2 top 31 prospects for Steven Souza? (no disrespect). Wow.

        It’s good that we have 3 top prospects but our system is very top heavy. The other prospects of note are: Difo, Severino, Cole, Lopez, Fedde (I am not mentioning this year’s draftees because they are still playing at a very low level so it’s hard to judge).

        What you can see here is a lack of notables at the corner outfield and corner infield positions. That’s a concern.

    • Doc - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      IMHO I kinda think that Cole’s Iron Mike delivery gives the batter a better chance to read his pitches—sorta like he’s tipping them.

      Like you say, if he can hide his delivery to a greater degree, he’ll get back on track. I’m surprised that the Nats’ farm system didn’t help him with this a long time ago.

  3. sjm308 - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    Is anyone else concerned that Fister’s velocity is down from last year? I understand that his game is built on location but I rarely see him throwing over 90.

    • micksback1 - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:20 PM

      Hi coach:

      I am not really concerned as I think he has pitched well.

      Rizzo again looks very good not to extend him last year so losing Fister next year may not be that bad of a loss, especially if he has lost velocity on his pitches

      • sjm308 - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:17 PM

        Hey Mick – not on here much but I am still reading

    • Doc - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      Yeah, even the Cinci announcers noticed it. Last year for the tall guy it was at 88-90. This year it seems to be hovering around 85-86,

    • nats128 - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:02 PM

      Hes turned into a Dan Haren type quickly and that comes with some inconsistency. Seems like Casey Janssen is the same.

      • jd - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:39 PM


        I don’t quite get what Jansen brings to the table. He doesn’t really have a putaway pitch and even when he gets outs it seems they are also loud. I guess they like his experience and the fact that he’s not afraid of stressful situations but in truth I’d rather see Carpenter in these situations.

      • Doc - Jul 7, 2015 at 2:19 PM

        Me too, on Janssen. Great competitor, but when he doesn’t locate his mediocre stuff like last night to Suarez (Sp.?) we’re in big trouble.

      • NatsLady - Jul 7, 2015 at 2:31 PM

        When Janssen was signed, who knew Carpenter would become available? So that happened and now you have an “extra” late-inning guy in the bullpen (not to mention Aaron Barrett coming back). Somehow, I think it will work itself out…

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      Yes, it’s a concern. People used to say that velocity didn’t matter for Fister, but it matters for everyone.

  4. micksback1 - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    Some fun DC history:

    at 1:26 PM exactly 150 years ago today, at Fort McNair, which was the old Wash Aresenal in 1865, the Lincoln Conspirators were hung. I am tempted after tonight’s game to swing by Fort Mcnair and see if any paranormal activity takes place, involving the ghost of Mary Surratt. i had a buddy who did some contract work few years ago and he said that some of the staff there swears they saw Mrs. Surratt walk aroubd where the tennis courts are located. in 1865, the tennis courts were where the gallows were located.

    enjoy and go NATS!!!

    • nats128 - Jul 7, 2015 at 12:59 PM

      Just beware of the ghost of M. Steve. Similar initials backwards.

      • micksback1 - Jul 7, 2015 at 4:01 PM

        thats funny and true

        made my day!

    • natsnatsnatswoo - Jul 7, 2015 at 2:53 PM

      History tells us that the Lincoln Conspirators were hanged. To find out if any of them were hung, you’d have to dig them up. I don’t support that.

      • micksback1 - Jul 7, 2015 at 4:00 PM


        thinking of Blazing Saddles, ha ha ha

  5. jd - Jul 7, 2015 at 1:26 PM

    The concern about Fister for me is the rate of fly ball/line drive outs vs. ground ball outs. You know some of the fly balls will eventually end up on the other side of the fence as will some of the line drives. To Fister’s credit he has basically avoided Haren like disasters and has mostly kept us in games but I must admit that lately I am much more comfortable when any of the other starters is pitching.

  6. natsdial8 - Jul 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    Caught Lucas interview yesterday on MLB xm he sounds like he understands the needto work diligently on mechanics and mental approach . VERY encouraging .

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2015 at 2:53 PM

    Wow, Jim Bowden said he tried to sign AJ Burnett in 2005 as a Free Agent and after he flew to Miami to take him out to dinner he turned in an expense report and the Commissioners Office gave him a hard time about the Opus One on the bill.

    • adcwonk - Jul 7, 2015 at 3:01 PM

      Wait — he’s admitting that he tried to expense that? ($1500-$3500 per bottle?)

      Is that standard? Does “gave him a hard time” mean eventually they accepted it?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2015 at 3:16 PM

        Yes after he told them that the Blue Jays picked him up in a private jet.

      • deftndumb - Jul 7, 2015 at 4:58 PM

        Ooh, the ’94 Opus One was a nice bottle of wine. In 2000 I was dating an Austrian girl and when I visited her in Vienna we went to a local wine shop to buy a bottle of something for her folks. And there, on the shelf, were three bottles of Opus One, 1994, discounted to the equivalent of $40 each. The guy there said he couldn’t sell them for love or money, as they were, ptooey, American. He said he’d discount them another 15% if I’d buy the lot. Needless to say…

  8. NatsLady - Jul 7, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    I like when they show the flags at Wrigley Field and the Nats are on top.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 7, 2015 at 4:06 PM

      I liked that so much that I bought their 2014 Nats flag. You may even see it at the ballpark once or twice this year–if the occasion warrants.





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