Yes, it's weird that Doug Fister is taking the hill in Yankee Stadium for a decisive Game 5. Yes, it's weird that he's doing so as a Tiger after beginning the season as a Mariner.
But Fister also has a weird personal history. He was drafted in the seventh round in 2006. He wasn't considered much of a prospect. In double-A in 2008, he walked 3.0 batters per nine innings.
Then, the next season in triple-A, he walked 0.9 batters per nine innings. He did that while maintaining his strikeout rate. All of a sudden, he was a somebody.
In 2010, he carried that control over to the major leagues, where he pitched out of the Mariners' rotation. He wasn't great, because he didn't miss a lot of bats, but he avoided enough free passes to succeed. He struck out 4.9 batters per nine innings.
Then, in 2011, he struck out 6.1 batters per nine innings. While slightly reducing his walks. His strikeout-to-walk ratio shot up from 2.9 to 3.9.
Those were a lot of numbers. Here's the quick summary: between 2008 and 2009, Doug Fister stopped walking people. Between 2010 and 2011, Doug Fister started striking people out. That's an extraordinary development curve, and that's how Fister went from being a non-prospect to being a guy in whom the Tigers have a lot of confidence in their biggest game of the season.