Even though Mike Fiers just pitched his last game of 2012, his starts from August until yesterday were by far some of the worst pitching this rotation has seen all season. Throwing maybe two or three good starts in there, Fiers had a rough go of things. Now granted the 27 year-old had not pitched this much in one season before, so to see him have some blow up games wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was how electric his stuff was when he first started in the rotation this year and how it all just fell flat. If it was an issue of confidence, mental strength or whatever, nobody knows what caused this collapse but Fiers himself. Heading into 2013, Fiers in our minds here at Reviewing the Brew had been either the potential two or three in the rotation, but now with his meltdown, he may be pushed back even farther.
So, what is to be done with Fiers?
Well hopefully he can rebound from his losses. He proved to us already that he’s a pitcher highly dependent on the strikeout and he doesn’t have too much of a problem with walking batters. His 3.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t that bad for someone who actually started in 22 games. With that however came a problem, his opponent’s batting average at .256 alongside his opponent’s on base percentage at .305. Yikes Mike.
Before the All-Star break, Fiers was un-hittable. He had a 3-3 record with a 2.31 ERA, an opponent’s batting average of .230 and 50 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched. Even his four starts in July were amazing when he had an ERA of 1.01, but had a deceiving 1-2 record. After July though is when everything fell apart for Fiers.
The biggest meltdown occurred on August 13th in Colorado. Fiers would only pitch two innings, giving up eight runs on nine hits while striking out one. In that game, Fiers did not walk a batter nor did he give up a home run. When Fiers began to implode after that, the long ball wasn’t usually the culprit. Fiers got into a lot of jams through back-to-back singles and just couldn’t find his way out of these troubled innings.
Fiers never really recovered much from that outing. He would have two more quality starts, but the rest would be short inning affairs with three or more runs scored, something we had not seen from Fiers in the first half. So what happened? Nobody knows. A lot of us went from being excited to seeing Fiers start, to being rather worried about him. His stats in the second half of 2012 just dropped off from the first half. He went 6-7 with a 4.56 ERA, an opponent’s batting average of .267 and had 85 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched after the All-Star break.
For Fiers, he ended 2012 on a rather rough note. In yesterday’s 7-0 loss to the Houston Astros, Fiers gave up five of the runs, four of them coming off of solo home runs. We had never seen Fiers give up more than two home runs in a game and even see him giving one up was a rarity. The Astros got to him, and got to him bad, giving Fiers his 10th loss of the season.
So, Fiers’ 2012 is done and he ends it unfortunately on a losing note. In 2012, Fiers went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP and had 135 strikeouts, 36 walks inside of 127.2 innings pitched. The last portion of the season was absolutely bizarre for not only Fiers, but for Milwaukee Brewer fans. One pitcher that sticks out in my mind is Dan Haren. In the past, Haren was noted for his extremely hot starts, but his lack to finish the season strong, usually falling off after the All-Star Game. It’s hard to say, and actually partially unfair, that this will happen to Fiers. We’ve only seen one year out of him, and for the most part he did extremely well. The fact that he doesn’t walk a lot of batters speaks to the fact that he needs to bear down on the amount of hits he gives up because that is what gets him into trouble.
Better luck next year Mike.