Chicago drives normally consistent hurler's pitch count up early
By Jordan Ray
HOUSTON -- Entering Saturday afternoon, Doug Fister had emerged as the Astros' most consistent starter. So it was a bit surprising when he turned in one of his worst performances of the season in a 7-6 loss to the White Sox.
Fister allowed five runs on nine hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Normally known for his up-tempo pace and high efficiency, the right-hander faced a high pitch count early and was unable to recover.
"They made him work," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He wasn't very sharp. I think the five walks hurt him … pitches in under five innings is not his norm."
It was the second straight loss for Fister, who gave up four runs in his previous start as the Astros dropped one to the Royals, 6-1. The Astros had won 10 straight with Fister on the mound leading up to that one in Kansas City.
The tipping point for Saturday's game came in the fifth inning, when Fister allowed four of five batters to get on base before White Sox designated hitter Dioner Navarro hit a two-out, two-run single to give Chicago a 5-4 lead.
"I gotta go out there and put up a zero," Fister said. "Didn't do that too many times tonight."
Hinch contemplated putting reliever Michael Feliz in earlier in the inning, but he decided against it.
"There's always thoughts of that," Hinch said. "I wouldn't have had [Feliz] up if I didn't want to bring him in. It's always tough after the fact. … When you start going to your bullpen earlier, it's a slippery slope."
Hinch mentioned Feliz throwing 40 pitches only a couple of days ago and the rest of his bullpen being pretty spent as reasons for keeping Fister in.
"I'll think about that one tonight," Hinch said.
Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.