Yankees vs. Tigers: Doug Fister Escapes Ultra-Jam In Fourth

Joe Girardi has long since gone to his bullpen, having yanked Ivan Nova after just two innings of work. Phil Hughes was good, and then Boone Logan was good, and now, for the fifth inning, we're going to see CC Sabathia. Starter CC Sabathia, making the first relief appearance of his professional career. Girardi is pulling out all of the stops, whatever that means.

But Jim Leyland hasn't gone to the bullpen. He's stuck with Doug Fister. And through four innings, Fister has kept the Yankees off the board. In the bottom of the fourth, though, he played with hot fire.

Alex Rodriguez led off with a walk - Fister doesn't walk a lot of guys - and two batters later, Nick Swisher singled to right. Jorge Posada followed with a single to shallow center, and though Rodriguez held up at third, the Yankees at that point had the sacks loaded with just one down.

Up came Russell Martin, looking to even the score, or even put the Yankees in front. He couldn't, as he popped up a fastball to first.

That brought Brett Gardner to the plate as the Yankees' big hope, and unlike Martin, he managed to work a 3-1 count. He fouled off the next pitch, and then with the count full, he popped up a fastball to third.

Two crucial, rally-killing pop-ups. People have talked about the Tigers' missed opportunities so far, but the Yankees just blew a big one, so they're still down two. That said, they have at least elevated Fister's pitch count to the point where he's unlikely to finish the sixth, so we're going to see a lot of the Tiger bullpen. You'll recall the Tiger bullpen was kind of godawful on Tuesday.

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