Doyle Alexander started 464 games and won 194 in a 19-year career, but he’s most remembered for 11 starts he made for the Detroit Tigers down the stretch in 1987.
The Tigers sent prospect John Smoltz to the Atlanta Braves in August to get the veteran Alexander to bolster their rotation. The 36-year old righthander allowed four runs in his first start in a Detroit uniform, but then he hunkered down and pitched brilliantly. In his other ten starts, Alexander was 9-0 with a 1.20 ERA with three shutouts.†He beat the Blue Jays on Friday night of the final weekend of the season to pull the Tigers into a tie for first place. Two days later teammate Frank Tanana shut out Toronto 1-0 to clinch the East Division title.
Alexander didn’t perform†as well in 1988, but still went 14-11 for the Tigers. He pitched almost the same in 1989 but got terrible run support, went 6-18 and retired.
In 19 seasons, Alexander never spent more than four full seasons with one team and wore the uniform of eight teams in all. His best success came with Toronto earlier in the 1980s when he went 46-26, winning 17 games twice for the club.
He was not successful in postseason play at all: in six starts he gave up 27 earned runs in 29 innings (8.38 ERA) while surrendering 42 hits and six walks. He was 0-5 in the postseason for the Orioles, Yankees, Jays, and Tigers.
Battling the†Red Sox
Two of the three hitters who Alexander faced the most frequently were Dwight Evans and Jim Rice of Boston. Bother were corner outfielders, both were right-handed hitters with power. But Alexander had mixed success against them. Evans hit only .165 (13-for-79) with two homers of Alexander, while Rice hit a robust .390 (30-for-77) with eight doubles, two homers, and a .597 SLG. Carl Yastrzemski hit .333 against Alexander, Carlton Fisk hit .288 with three homers, and Fred Lynn, a lefthanded hitter, pounded Alex to the tune of .377 with four homers. For his career, Alexander was 14-19 against the BoSox, his worst mark against a club he started at least 25 games against.