Results tagged ‘ Doug Fister ’
by Mike Feigen
The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer on a seven-year contract on Wednesday, followed by an introductory press conference at Nationals Park.
The event featured Scherzer, President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo, 2014 NL Manager of the Year Matt Williams and Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras. In addition, several members of the Lerner family, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth and Scherzer’s wife, Erica, attended the press conference.
If you missed any of the press conference, we’re here to fill you in:
Opening statement by President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo:
Well, it’s a big day here at Nats Park. It is my extreme pleasure to introduce to the Washington D.C. community one of the finest right-handed pitchers in all of baseball and a fine gentleman in his own right, Max Scherzer.
These opportunities don’t come up every day with players of this caliber and with an ownership group with the willingness to put themselves out there and acquire us a player of this ilk. It is my extreme pleasure to welcome Erica and Max to the Washington, D.C. family and to the Washington Nationals family. We couldn’t be happier to have Max in the fold.
Scherzer, on why he signed with the Nationals:
MS: It’s pretty easy. And it’s one (reason): winning. I think this team is capable of winning, and winning a lot. So when you look at the at the near term and long term, this is an organization you want to be a part of.
(Mike Rizzo) has been an architect here, creating a team that has been there at the bottom and has now created a team that is poised to be at the top. That’s something, as a player looking from afar, that I was able to see. Obviously, when the Nationals started knocking on your door, this is a team you want to be a part of. You start having conversations with the Lerner family and understand their commitment to excellence and their commitment to winning — that lines up great with what I want to do. I want to win and that’s why I’m here.
Rizzo, on why he wanted to improve an already strong rotation:
MR: I would say that whenever you can acquire a player of Max Scherzer’s ability level, character, and toughness on the mound, those opportunities are few and far between. We saw a player that we were extremely interested in. He fits all the criteria that we’re looking for in a Washington Nationals type of player. He’s good between the lines, he’s a tough guy, he gets after it, he takes the ball, he attacks hitters. In the clubhouse (he’s a) magnificent teammate. In the community, (he) does nothing but impress everybody he touches. He’s a guy who you can’t ask for more from. He’s the type of guy we’re looking for and he’s the guy we went after very aggressively — and we strengthened a strength. Who wouldn’t want Max Scherzer on their club?
Rizzo, on why Max is “the Nationals’ type of guy”:
MR: He’s everybody’s kind of guy. He’s got great ability, he’s got great work ethic, he’s a great teammate and he gets after it. He’s a winner. We like to think that we attract that type of player, and we certainly landed one in Max.
Scherzer, on when he knew the Nationals would be a good fit?
MS: For me, once January came around there were more teams in contact, and there were different opportunities that (arose). However, throughout the contact, when the Nationals started knocking on the door, that was the conversation I had with Scott; this is definitely a destination I want to play in. This is a team that can win now and can win in the future. That’s something that when you’re signing up for seven years that you want to be a part of. Winning cures everything, and this is definitely a type of organization I want to be a part of. I wanted to continue these type of negotiations with the Washington Nationals because I believe in the Lerner family and what they’re committed to.
Rizzo, on when he started pursuing Max:
MR: Well, ’06, he was on my radar, that’s when I started loving him. We have a grand plan coming into each offseason and there (are) different routes to get to where you want to be — we have different options and opportunities. The plan was laid at the beginning of the offseason and came to fruition in the last three, four weeks or so.
Scherzer, on his initial reaction to the contract offer:
MS: It was jaw dropping. You just can’t even fathom it sometimes. You work so hard to put yourself in this position. For me, it’s all about winning. I don’t play this game for money, but yet at the same time when you have an offer like that it just makes you go, “Wow.” I’m very fortunate to be in this position, that they wanted to commit that type of dollar amount to me.
Scherzer, on whether he called people up to tell them about the deal:
MS: (Scott Boras) told me, “You can’t tell anybody.” So I had to keep it to myself and just tell my wife. It was a wild moment, so I was very happy.
Williams, on his starting rotation from a manager’s perspective:
MW: To put any of those names down every fifth day is a privilege for anybody. What it does is it just allows us to have a better chance of winning. As Max said, he wants to win, we desperately want to win, Jayson is with us today, he wants to win desperately. We’re glad to have (Max), we’re anxious to get to Spring Training and we know he is.
To give you an idea of the type of competitor Max is, (back in) 2007, he was a young Double-A pitcher and I was his manager. Every Minor Leaguer has a pitch count; his was 100. He was at 97 pitches and I went out to the mound and told him he’s got three pitches to get this last guy out and he was done. He reared back and went 97, 98, 99 (mph) to strike him out. So that’s the kind of guy you see up here. He hasn’t changed since then and he won’t change now. He’s a bulldog and we’re going to be happy to give him the ball every fifth (day).
Scherzer, on wanting the rest of the rotation stay intact beyond this season, including Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann:
MS: For me personally, of course you want to see guys like that. You always want good players on your team. When you speak of Fister and Zimmermann, those are highly talented pitchers. Of course you want to see them on your ballclub, but at the end of the day, Mike’s the architect here. He understands what pitchers he has coming on the way and what’s best for the team, so that’s where he’s going to make this type of decision.
Rizzo, on having the flexibility to add Scherzer without moving other pieces:
MR: With the acquisition of Max, ownership has allowed us to do our business in the best way you can, as far as the baseball side goes. They’ve given us all the ammunition that we need to put together a quality team. Nothing has changed with regard to any other player on the roster. We make good baseball decisions based on baseball evaluations and money does not come into play. We love the team that we have right now, we feel that it’s a really good, capable ballclub and we’re looking to better ourselves each and every day.
Scherzer, on talking to other Nationals players before he signed:
MS: After I signed, Fister reached out to me and sent me a couple of text messages. I was happy to rejoin him. He’s a really good pitcher — there (are) a lot of things you can learn from him. I was also working out with Matt Thornton as well … I was picking his brain the previous week, asking about the clubhouse, how are the different things throughout the year. I feel really comfortable about joining this clubhouse.
Rizzo, on what he remembered about Scherzer before the 2006 draft:
MR: I saw Max twice as an amateur, and the first time he didn’t fare that well, but loved the competitiveness, loved the way he attacked hitters and loved the demeanor on the mound. He was pouring fastballs into these right-handed hitters. His stuff was there, it was pretty evident that he had power stuff. But what really affected me in a positive light was I saw a guy that was struggling a little bit but made no excuses and just got after it. The second time when I went back to see him it was a 180 (degree change). It was a very easy game to scout and he was an extremely easy player to take at the No. 11 pick in the draft that year.
Rizzo, on having little concern about Scherzer’s age and duration of contract:
MR: He’s a durable pitcher. If I’m not mistaken, he’s never been on the Disabled List in the past five years. He takes the ball whenever he’s given it — he’s a horse. He’s got the makeup and character to take things deep into games, if asked to. For a 30-year-old pitcher, he’s thrown very (few) innings and pitches for a pitcher that’s had the success he’s had at the age that he’s at. I feel like we’ve got a young 30-year-old arm with a lot of mileage left on the tires and a guy that’s going to take us into competitive games for a very long time … he can really hit, too, by the way.
by Mike Feigen
It came as no surprise that Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers earned the National League Cy Young Award Wednesday, unanimously capturing all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. After all, the southpaw led all of baseball in ERA, wins, complete games, WHIP and FIP (fielding independent pitching).
Three members of the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation — Jordan Zimmermann (5th), Doug Fister (8th) and Stephen Strasburg (T-9th) — finished in the top 10 of the voting, making them the only team in either league to achieve that distinction in the past three years.
Zimmermann, 28, went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 199.2 innings in 2014, concluding the season with the first no-hitter in Nationals history. The 6-foot-2 right-hander added a brilliant first-round performance in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, surrendering just three hits in Game 2. In total, Zimmermann allowed a total of three hits to the final 62 batters he faced dating back to his September 20 start against the Miami Marlins.
Fister, acquired last offseason in a deal with the Detroit Tigers, lived up to his billing as a dynamic, big-game pitcher. Standing 6-foot-8, the lanky right-hander used his power sinker and array of off-speed pitches to keep hitters off balance all season. Fister led the Nationals in ERA (2.41) and wins (16) during the regular season, then added a victory in Game 3 of the NLDS against Madison Bumgarner and the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
If not for Zimmermann’s late-season heroics, Strasburg would have easily finished the season as the Nationals’ hottest pitcher. The 26-year-old righty went 7-2 in August and September, including a 3-0 record with a 0.00 ERA over his final three starts of the season. In those contests, the right-hander allowed 10 hits and three walks over 20.0 scoreless innings, striking out 19.
Including Tanner Roark (15-10, 2.85) and Gio Gonzalez (10-10, 3.57), the Nationals owned one of the finest starting rotations in all of baseball, with all five primary members deserving recognition for their excellent 2014 campaigns. Factoring in the excellent bullpen performances from relievers such as Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, the entire staff led baseball in ERA (3.03), FIP (3.18), fewest home runs per fly ball (7.5%) and lowest walk rate (2.15 per 9 innings). The team also set a Major League record by striking out 3.66 batters for every walk issued, the best ratio in history.
With Zimmermann, Fister and Strasburg all earning BBWAA votes, the result doubled the number of times Nationals pitchers have received Cy Young votes since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005. Previously receiving tallies were Chad Cordero (5th, 2005), Gonzalez (3rd, 2012) and Zimmermann (7th, 2013).
by Mike Feigen
When the Nationals take the field for Game 1 of the National League Division Series this Friday, whichever pitcher Matt Williams entrusts with the starting assignment will give the team a tremendous chance to win.
That’s what the eye test tells us.
Fans of the Nationals saw Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez win game after game — or at least help the club earn win after win — throughout the regular season. Those core members of the starting five owned a collective record of 69-42 (.622) and the Nationals went 94-55 (.631) when one of them received the ball.
However, wins and losses really don’t tell a precise story of how well a pitcher performed. Too many external factors come into play in each win and loss, such as run support, batted ball luck and bullpen performance.
Instead, we look at the types of things a pitcher can control, such as walks and strikeouts. In the case of the 2014 Nationals, no pitching staff did it better — in the history of baseball.
This season, Washington pitchers struck out 1,288 opposing batters and walked 352. That’s a ratio of 3.66-to-1, a better rate than any of the other 2,391 teams to play a full season of baseball since 1901.
In fact, only 60 other teams in history had even managed a 2.66-to-1 ratio, underscoring just how well the Nationals struck batters out and limited free passes.
But the 3.66-to-1 figure only scratches the surface.
When considering only starting pitchers, the Nationals’ figure leaps to an astounding 4.05-to-1. And when excluding the 13 spot starts posted throughout the year by Blake Treinen, Taylor Jordan and Taylor Hill — leaving just the core five of Zimmermann, Strasburg, Fister, Roark and Gonzalez — the limits of the statistical stratosphere are tested.
The final ratio? An incredible 4.30-to-1.
So, when the going gets tough and runners are on base in the postseason, Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and the rest of the Nationals have the numbers on their side to back up what we’ve seen in the regular season. Notching a timely strikeout instead of issuing an inopportune walk can make or break a team in October — and one team is better equipped to do it than any other.
During the marathon of a 162-game baseball season, there are thrilling moments that highlight the successes of every club, from the front runner to the cellar dweller. The 2014 Washington Nationals are no exception, as they have sparked excitement throughout The District while returning to postseason play for the second time in three years.
Inside the Nationals’ clubhouse, multiple members of the team cited June 21 as one of the days the Nationals likely began to turn the tide in the National League East race.
At 37-35, in second place in the division — and with losses in six out of their seven games against the Atlanta Braves — the Nats turned to the newest member of their rotation: Doug Fister. In front of more than 40,000 fans and a FOX national TV audience, the 6-foot-8 righty shut down Atlanta, sparking Washington to a record of 56-30 from that point on. The commanding win easily earned Fister one of our nine “Signature Moments” of the 2014 campaign.
COMMAND PERFORMANCE | 6.21
With the Nationals in need of a commanding performance, Doug Fister stymied the Atlanta Braves in a dominant shutout win on national television.
Game #40: Washington Nationals (20-19) at Arizona Diamondbacks (16-26) | 12:40 p.m. PT; 3:40 p.m. ET | Chase Field
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Doug Fister (0-1, 10.38 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 5.66 ERA)
This will be just the third career start for Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister against a National League West team. Fister has never faced the Diamondbacks.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN
Live Stats: nationals.com
The Nationals pace Major League Baseball with 14 bunt hits. Danny Espinosa, who has six, is tied with Los Angeles Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon for the most bunt hits in all of MLB.
Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!
Game #35: Washington Nationals (19-15) at Oakland Athletics (20-15) | 7:05 p.m. PT; 10:05 p.m. ET | O.co Coliseum
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Doug Fister (0-0, — ERA) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (0-3, 5.86 ERA)
Washington Nationals righty Doug Fister is making his first start as a National this season, now healed up from a right lat strain. Fister was acquired in December from the Detroit Tigers. Oakland Athletics lefty Tommy Milone came through the Nationals’ system and made his Major League debut for Washington Sept. 2011 before being sent to Oakland as part of the trade that brought Gio Gonzalez to D.C.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN2
Live Stats: nationals.com
This is the Washington Nationals’ first visit to the O.co Coliseum since the team moved to D.C. in 2005 — and it culminates the team’s initial tour of all Major League cities. The Nationals have now played in 33 different ballparks.
The A’s and the Nationals, of course, share very little history as they play one another so infrequently. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t connected.
Nationals President of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo and Athletics Vice President and GM Billy Beane have consummated seven trades since Dec., 2010 (a 41-month span). Those trades have included, among others, Fernando Abad, Jerry Blevins, A.J. Cole (twice), Gio Gonzalez, Henry Rodriguez, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, Brad Peacock, Kurt Suzuki (twice), Blake Treinen and Josh Willingham. Scott Hairston also played for Oakland previously, and pitching coach Steve McCatty spent nine seasons pitching for the A’s as well.
Here are tonight’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!
by Amanda Comak
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Washington Nationals’ projected starting rotation will become a reality on Friday night.
The Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated right-hander Doug Fister from the 15-day Disabled List on Friday and the 6-foot-8 right-hander will make his Nationals debut against the Oakland Athletics Friday night at the O.co Coliseum.
In 12 career regular season starts against the Athletics, Fister is 5-5 with a 3.17 ERA.
Fister, 30, joins the Nationals rotation after missing the season’s first 34 games with a right lat strain, though he’s spent his rehab time ingratiating himself among his new teammates and acclimating himself in D.C.
The team’s biggest addition of the offseason was acquired in a December 2013 trade with the Detroit Tigers in which the Nationals sent infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-handed reliever Ian Krol and left-handed starter Robbie Ray to the Tigers. In two-plus seasons (Aug. 2011-2013) with Detroit, Fister went 32-20 with a 3.29 ERA.
Fister appeared in two Minor League rehab games with Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. In a combined 7.2 innings of work, he allowed two earned runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
The playoff-tested right-hander is the latest of the Nationals’ players who suffered injuries early this season to return.
The team got outfielder Scott Hairston (oblique) and catcher Wilson Ramos (hamate fracture) back on the previous homestand, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is continuing his rehab and healing process as he recovers from a broken thumb.
But Fister’s return has been as highly anticipated as any.
“We’ve been waiting on that all year,” first baseman Adam LaRoche told reporters on Wednesday. “I know he’s champing to get back in there, so that’ll be another big boost.”
by Amanda Comak
ATLANTA — Washington Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo met with the media before this afternoon’s game at Turner Field to discuss a litany of topics that have arisen in the season’s first two weeks.
Here’s some of what Rizzo discussed, from injuries to roster moves and the growing rivalry with the Atlanta Braves.
“We feel as good as we can with the glut of injuries that we’ve had to key players. We’re talking about your middle-of-the-lineup bats. But we prepared for it this offseason with the acquisitions of (catcher Jose Lobaton) and key guys like (Kevin Frandsen) and (Nate McLouth). We still feel good about the roster.”
On if he feels the Nationals are just not catching any breaks early, with regard to injuries:
“No, nobody cares. The rest of the league doesn’t care. We’re just trying to work our way through it. We’ve got a game every day. That’s the one thing about baseball. The everydayness of it is really what separates the sport. That’s why we have 40-man rosters, that’s why we have Minor League systems.
“Injuries happen and you have to prepare for them. We think we’re well-prepared and well-positioned to handle them. We’ve got games to play and games to win.”
On how Denard Span is doing after being placed on the 7-day DL Saturday with a concussion:
“We’re going to have the doctor re-examine him tomorrow in Miami. He’s going to do some physical activities, and then we’ll take it from there.”
On Ryan Zimmerman’s prognosis after fracturing his right thumb on Saturday night:
“It’s a clean fracture. I saw the X-rays and I talked to the doctor. He’s going to see a hand specialist (at the Cleveland Clinic) on Monday. We’ll get a diagnosis and make our plans from there.”
“He’s capable of playing (second base, third base and shortstop). His natural position is shortstop. He’s got the skillset to play shortstop. He’s going to play all the different positions, and being a switch hitter off the bench with power helps us.”
On Doug Fister’s rehab from a strained lat muscle:
“Doug’s involved in his (throwing) program. He’ll progress to another bullpen (on Monday), throwing all this pitches, and he’ll take the next step depending on how it goes.”
On his opinions of the job manager Matt Williams has done in the season’s first 11 games:
“It’s the same game he’s always watched. Putting the lineups together, running the game in his mind (it’s not unfamiliar to him). Besides the newness of instant replay, it’s baseball as usual.
“He’s got a great support system around him with the coaches. It’s baseball 24/7 with Matt and the rest of them. They’re constantly in the clubhouse talking baseball. It’s a great dynamic and it’s enjoyable to see.”
On his evaluations of Danny Espinosa thus far this season as he bounces back from 2013:
“We’re glad we drafted him and developed him. We’ve always valued him as a really good Major League player. It’s time for him and for other players on the team to show (what they can do).”
On how he views the Nationals’ games against the Braves:
“(I’ve seen) great games. They’ve come on the winning side of it more often than we like, but we feel confident against this team. We feel we’re better than this team. We respect them, we respect the organization, but we don’t fear them . We think we’re the better team and we think at the end of the day we’re going to come out on top.”
by Amanda Comak
NEW YORK — The wait is almost over. In less than 24 hours, Opening Day of the 2014 baseball season will be upon us.
Who could forget Ryan Zimmerman christening Nationals Park with a walk-off on Opening Day in 2008? Or Bryce Harper smashing two home runs on his first Opening Day in the Major Leagues — becoming the youngest player ever to do so — just last year.
But each player has their own memories of Opening Day, and it’s a special day in the baseball world. Some stand out for obvious reasons. Craig Stammen said the most memorable Opening Day for him was his first, and it also happened to be one President Barack Obama attended at Nationals Park. He shook the President’s hand. That in itself was pretty memorable.
Here are a few others, in their own words:
Adam LaRoche: “It was in Chicago (in 2012). I had like four punch-outs with the bases loaded. Luckily we won or it wouldn’t be real funny. I’ve got to be the first guy to leave like 20 guys on base through one game. I remember thinking after that game ‘Whoa, this might be a rough year.'”
To be fair to LaRoche, he was only 0-for-3 in that game, and he walked to load the bases in the eighth inning which led to the Nationals’ first run. He also went 5-for-9 with two home runs in the final two games of that opening series against the Cubs, and went on to have one of his finest seasons in the Major Leagues.
Gio Gonzalez: “(My most memorable Opening Day) was at home against Cincinnati (in the 2012 home opener). That was when I got my first Major League hit and when I was warming up, to stretch and go out there, I thought I had plenty of time to just stretch, hear my music, get ready to go. I ended up telling (pitching coach Steve McCatty), ‘I got this. I’m ready to go.’ He said, ‘You know, you’ve got to stretch a little early because of (all the ceremonial events that go on before the game on Opening Day).’
“Next thing you know it was like 12:55 p.m. and the game was at 1 p.m. and I turned to Cat and I was like, ‘Cat, I don’t think I got this.’ I ended up not even long-tossing or throwing just went straight from stretching to the bullpen… Show and go. Sometimes it works.”
Gonzalez threw seven shutout innings that day, allowing just two hits and striking out seven.
Doug Fister: “I got called up in 2009. My first Opening Day was in 2010 in Seattle. There were a couple of us who were fairly new and our biggest thing was trying not to trip on the red carpet. They had carpet that ran from center field all the way to the line (that we had to run down during introductions).”
Matt LeCroy (bullpen coach): “My first one (in the Major Leagues). That was my debut. My first at-bat I hit a double and got a standing ovation. We were in Minnesota at the Metrodome. I made the team out of spring. I was 23 or 24 years old. It was awesome. My whole family was there. I’d just gotten married. I don’t remember (the other at-bats). But that first one was pretty cool.”
by Amanda Comak
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The disclaimer that comes with Spring Training, and all of the stats that accompany it, is, of course, that they don’t count for anything. On Monday, whatever numbers have been accrued over the past five weeks in Florida are wiped away and the real fun begins.
Zimmermann did that. He also threw 18 innings, allowed one run, struck out 15, allowed 11 hits and walked only one. His Spring Training ERA came complete at 0.50.
Five more scoreless innings against the New York Mets to cap his spring — along with a bases-loaded infield hit to score the Nationals’ first run in a 4-0 victory — was more than enough for him to earn Player of the Day honors as the Nationals bid adieu to the Grapefruit League.
“I felt like I did what I needed to do to get ready for the season,” the 2013 All-Star said. “The ball’s coming out well, I have a good feel for all my pitches and I’m healthy. (Spring Training stats) don’t matter, but for me I want to do (well) every time I go out. Spring doesn’t matter too much but you don’t want to get hit around every time, either… I feel good. I’m ready to go.”
Quote of the Day: Matt Williams on Doug Fister
Fister was pulled from his scheduled Minor League start after one inning when he continued to feel tightness in his right lat muscle. The right-hander will be reevaluated in D.C.
“(It didn’t happen) on any particular pitch, had nothing to do with the elbow,” Williams said. “But we took him out after his first inning as a precaution and he’ll see the doc tomorrow in Washington. We’ll see what the doc says. We’ll see where we’re at. He was due to throw 60 (pitches) today and he came out after that first inning, so it certainly is a setback (as far as the regular season goes).”
Jordan Zimmermann goes five scoreless in another strong outing.
Jordan Zimmermann helps his own cause with a bases-loaded infield hit.
Bryce Harper ropes an RBI-single to center field.
Nate McLouth scores on a wild pitch.
The Nationals will travel to Washington, D.C. on Thursday evening in advance of Saturday’s exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park… The team will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Youth Baseball Academy before Saturday’s game… Nationals Manager Matt Williams said he is leaning toward starting Anthony Rendon at second base on Opening Day.