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Fister looks ahead after rough end to season

Five-run, 1 1/3-inning outing gives Astros righty 11.74 ERA in September
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- For Doug Fister, Wednesday's 12-4 loss to the Mariners was the culmination of everything that's gone wrong for the veteran right-hander during the month of September.

In just 1 1/3 innings, Fister surrendered five runs on five hits to give Seattle a big lead that the postseason-hopeful Astros ultimately couldn't overcome in a game they simply couldn't afford to lose. It was by far Fister's shortest outing of the season, and it pushed his ERA for September to a whopping 11.74.

Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- For Doug Fister, Wednesday's 12-4 loss to the Mariners was the culmination of everything that's gone wrong for the veteran right-hander during the month of September.

In just 1 1/3 innings, Fister surrendered five runs on five hits to give Seattle a big lead that the postseason-hopeful Astros ultimately couldn't overcome in a game they simply couldn't afford to lose. It was by far Fister's shortest outing of the season, and it pushed his ERA for September to a whopping 11.74.

Full Game Coverage

"It's pretty frustrating," Fister said. "I let the team down. These past couple of starts haven't gone what I would call my way at all, but it's not for a lack of effort, lack of work."

Fister got off to a bad start Wednesday when Norichika Aoki led off the game with a single that deflected off Fister. A walk and three-run blast from Robinson Cano later and the Astros suddenly trailed, 3-0, in the blink of an eye.

"From the get-go, things might be different if the ball doesn't deflect off him in the first inning," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Leadoff runner is on, then the walk [and] then Cano punching us in the gut with a three-run homer, so getting into the game was very difficult for him."

Fister gave up a pair of singles to Leonys Martin and Ketel Marte, both of whom eventually scored, in the following inning before he was pulled.

"Like anything, he's a real pro, and he's fighting to land his breaking ball," Hinch said. "This is a tough lineup against him. We knew that going in. We were going to try and mix and match a few breaking balls, but execution was an issue."

The season hasn't been all bad for Fister, who reached 12 wins faster than anyone on the team, but poor showings in each of his final seven starts of the regular season will overshadow the things he did well. After pitching seven scoreless innings against the Pirates on Aug. 22, Fister went 0-4 with a 9.82 ERA and never went longer than five innings in any game during that span.

"Obviously, it's a tale of a couple different seasons for him," Hinch said.

Though Fister's future with the team is up in the air -- he's a free agent after this season -- he said there are things he knows he can use to benefit from recent struggles to improve as a player going forward, wherever he ends up.

"There's been a lot of up and downs, but no matter good or bad, there's always something to pull from it," Fister said. "There's a lot of things to learn from negatives and some failure. That's something I will take from this year. I'll look back on it, know how to grind through it, and coming back on top is something I'll have to continue to work on."

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.

Houston Astros, Doug Fister