With the season on the line, many expected Game 5 of the ALDS to be a bullpen affair, especially with neither teams’ aces starting. Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland made it clear that Justin Verlander would not be coming on in relief. NY Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that CC Sabathia would be available.
I don’t think Girardi expected to need the bullpen SO early in the game. After just two innings, Girardi went to Phil Hughes. Down 2-0 after starter Ivan Nova allowed back-to-back solo homeruns in the top of the first inning to Don Kelly and Delmon Young, many thought that the move was because of Nova’s ineffectiveness (he allowed three hits and threw 31 pitches). However in the in-game TBS interview, Girardi said that Nova had tightness in his forearm. That certainly was not news Yankees fans wanted to hear about the talented rookie.
Tigers starter Doug Fister danced around trouble throughout his five innings of work. He worked around a one-out double in the 2nd inning. In the third inning, he struck out Robinson Cano with two men on base to escape the jam. In the 4th inning, he got back-to-back infield pop ups to escape a bases loaded, one out jam.
Hughes pitched a scoreless 3rd inning, but after allowing a one out single in the 4th, Girardi went to his only lefty in the bullpen, Boone Logan. After allowing a single to lefty Alex Avila, Logan escaped the jam.