Doug Fister overcomes terrifying moment

October 26, 2012, 5:22 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Doug Fister is listed at 6'8." He is an extremely tall, thin, and leggy right-handed pitcher. He is built a lot like the A's Brandon McCarthy. On September 5, McCarthy, who stands just an inch shorter than Fister, was hit just above the right ear by a line drive off the bat of Eric Aybar that ended up fracturing his skull and forcing the pitcher into emergency brain surgery. The traumatic injury ended McCarthy's season and stimulated discussions about pitcher safety. In the second inning baseball got a frightening reminder of just how vulnerable pitchers are while on the mound when Fister was struck on the top of the head by a liner off the bat of Gregor Blanco. Fortunately for Fister, it was a glancing blow that didn't hit flush. He never left his feet and after a mound visit from his coaches, trainers, and umpires he remained in the game.
RELATED: San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series page "I was really afraid," catcher Gerald Laird said. "That's a scary moment. A line drive off someone's head, I mean you've seen what happened to McCarthy and the damage it did. You don't want to lose a teammate like that."Laird said that when everyone approached the mound to check on Fister he answered all the standard concussion questions before they were asked. The manner in which Fister handled the situation turned the moment from terrifying to humorous."I don't want to make light of it but it was pretty comical really because Doug was right on with everything," Tigers' manager Jim Leyland said. "But I was scared to death when it happened." "He sounded just like Fisty always sounds," Laird said. "He goes 'I know where we're at. We're in the second inning. We're in Game 2 against San Francisco.'"
RATTO: Giants follow big win with small win for 2-0 leadFister got extremely lucky. If that ball was one inch lower things could have been very different. The Tigers ended up laughing it off. Fister said there wasn't any pounding or lingering pain in his head after the ball struck him. He says there hasn't been any kind of tests. He even held the door to the clubhouse open for the media after the game "I'm not concerned I've got a minor bump," Fister said. "According to my dad my whole life, his saying has always been if I got hit in the head I'm okay." Somehow, the ball that ricocheted off the top of his head altered his evening for the better. Fister retired 13 of the next 16 batters he faced. He only allowed two hits after the incident. He was riding on pure adrenaline."For me it's just a mindset," Fister said. "You are not going to take me out of the game."The Tigers' pitcher has been nearly unhittable in this postseason. It's no wonder why. Every pitch in his arsenal breaks, bends, and dives through the strike zone. Fister hadn't allowed a run since the seventh inning of the ALDS against Oakland, totaling 12 13 scoreless innings. He gave up a leadoff single in the seventh and left the game. He was charged with an earned run when the Giants scored on a double play with the bases loaded and reliever Drew Smyly on the mound. For Fister, a Merced native that attended Fresno State, this start was easily the biggest and most special of his career. He took the mound with family and friends watching. A lifelong Giants fan, it wasn't long ago he was sitting in the stands watching the Giants play alongside those same friends and family members. Hopefully they won't be too angry with him after dealing against their favorite team. Despite Fister's best efforts, Detroit was held scoreless and the Giants ended up winning 2-0. Their big opportunity to get on the board was thwarted in the second inning when Prince Fielder was thrown out at home while trying to score from first on a Delmon Young double. The Giants executed a perfect relay -- Gregor Blanco, to Marco Scutaro, to Buster Posey, who tagged Fielder on the backside just before his foot brushed across home plate."I saw the ball go off the wall and I looked back at him and he sent me so I was ready to run," Fielder said of third base coach Gene Lamont's decision to wave him home. Fielder added that he argued the call at the plate because he didn't feel the tag. As the play unfolded all he was thinking about was trying to be safe. He wasn't. The Giants also robbed the Tigers of a run when Pablo Sandoval made a leaping catch to stop what would have been an RBI double in the fourth inning. "Seems like things aren't' falling right now, we just have to continue to battle and keep swinging it," Laird said. "The good thing is we get to go home now and play in our home park where we've played our best baseball all year. I like our chances." In the end, Detroit's hitters had no answers for Madison Bumgarner who threw seven shutout innings of two-hit ball. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bumgarner is the first pitcher since Bruce Hurst in 1986 to throw 15-plus scoreless innings in his first two World Series appearances. Jim Leyland's Tigers are in deep trouble. They head home down 0-2 to the Giants in the Fall Classic. Even if the Tigers can survive the next three games in The Motor City, the series will be decided in San Francisco.

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