Aug 3, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (33) throws to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Doug Fister To The Bullpen?
There has been lots of talk and speculation about who will be in the starting rotation once Stephen Strasburg is finished with his rehab assignment and is ready to rejoin the team. Strasburg will make his return on Saturday with Doug Fister going to the bullpen
Fister has been a starter all season. However, he has not had the type of year that the Nationals expected. He injured a flexor tendon in his throwing arm back in May, and he has not pitched particularly well since his return from the disabled list. It is possible that Fister was dealing with the flexor injury before he went on the DL, which could have affected some of those starts also.
Fister has had trouble keeping the ball down in the zone since his return from the DL. This is a problem because Fister relies on keeping the ball down and getting ground ball outs to be successful. If he leaves the ball up in the strike zone, that ball it hittable and Fister then gives up runs. Lots of runs.
The assumption was that Joe Ross, despite his excellent performances as a starter for the Nationals, would be sent back to triple-A when Strasburg returned. Ross is on an innings limit and keeping his innings numbers down is much easier to do in the minors.
An interesting thing happened during the game. Doug Fister sat in the bullpen during the entire game. He watched the game from the bullpen and hung out with the bullpen guys.
Was Fister sitting in the pen because he has been approached about becoming a member of the Nationals shaky bullpen after Strasburg returns? Did he sit out there to see what it was like and what he could learn from viewing the game from the outfield and watching the bullpen routines?
By making this move to the bullpen, Fister could further help his cause in possibly getting on the playoff roster as a reliever because as of right now, Ross deserves to stay in the starting rotation because of the consistent performances he has had since being called up for the second time.