Since being traded from Seattle in a six-player deal two months ago, Fister -- who is to start in the series against the Yankees -- has been on a tear. The 6-8 righthander, 27, was named the American League pitcher of the month for September after going 5-0 with an ERA of 0.53.
Fister's final 2011 stat line was 11-13 with a 2.83 ERA, but he was 8-1, 1.79 as a Tiger and went 7-0, 0.65 in his final eight games.
His presence undoubtedly has sparked the Tigers in unexpected ways. General manager Dave Dombrowski acquired Fister in hopes that he would bring consistency to the fifth spot in the rotation, but he's done much more. Beginning Aug. 3, the date of his Tigers debut, Detroit is 37-16.
"[He] was a guy who was kind of under the radar at the trading deadline. We had him on our radar," manager Jim Leyland said. "There wasn't a lot of talk about him. I would love to say I knew exactly what he was going to do, but I can't tell you that honestly . . . He's done a fantastic job and it came at the right time. Dave Dombrowski going out at the trading deadline, I think it really set a good tempo for the team that we were serious about trying to win the Central and get in the postseason."
Fister will try to keep the Yankees off balance with a mix of pitches, as he does every game. "I'm going to go out there and attack with my best stuff," said Fister, who allowed three runs in seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Yankees on July 26 in his final Seattle start. "Obviously, it's quite the honor to have the title of [an ALDS] starter, but it doesn't change anything, whether it's Game 1 or Game 5. All the games that we've played since I got traded have meant just as much as one another. So we're still taking the same mind-set, still approaching the game the same way with the fire in our eyes, and ready to go out and play and do what it takes to win."