"I think most of it was mental for me," Fiers said. "I think I was trying to do too much later on in the year, maybe thinking in my head, 'Maybe I am tired.' I don't think I was. I think I was pushing the ball and trying to do more than I really could. That's where my command was a little off in my last couple of starts."
Fiers finished 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, a rookie season that was essentially three seasons in one. He began the year at Triple-A Nashville, shined after a late-May promotion and then slumped down the stretch. Fiers had a 1.80 ERA in his first 13 appearances and a 6.99 ERA in his final 10 starts.
He threw 182 2/3 regular season innings between Nashville and Milwaukee, and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was asked whether he had any regrets about sticking with Fiers through the end of the season, even after he passed his career high for innings.
"Oh, no," Roenicke said. "Who else did you want in there? You have to have another answer. You can't just say, 'I don't want somebody in there to start,' if you don't have another answer."
In Roenicke's view, with the Brewers suddenly in the postseason picture, there was no other answer.
"We were hoping he would come out of it and throw like he was before," Roenicke said.
That just didn't happen. Fiers matched his career high with 10 strikeouts on Sunday, but was tagged for five runs on six hits in six innings. The Astros hit their four home runs in the span of three innings.
"He looked the same to me," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "I just think the scouting report is getting out on him a little bit, and guys are knowing what to expect more. With him going forward, you need to work down in the zone and get his location correct, so we eliminate those elevated fastballs that are getting hit for homers."