* Within five months RP Brandon Finnegan has gone from pitching for the TCU Horned Frogs in the College World Series in Omaha to having a scoreless outing in Game 3 of the 110th World Series. He’s greeted by teammates in the dugout here after he helped give the Kansas City Royals a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants.
By Bob Elliott
SAN FRANCISCO _ It’s Brandon Finnegan’s world.
We’re just watching how it unfolds.
He has pitched in two World Series within 127 days of each other.
There’s another World Series?
Yep. Finnegan pitched eight innings for the TCU Horned Frogs against the No. 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha on June 17. He allowed two runs — one earned on nine hits and five walks — as TCU lost 3-2 in 15 innings when Toronto shortstop Daniel Pinero knocked in the winning run in the 15th.
Selected in the June draft Finnegan made his debut in Game 3 of the 110th World Series Friday night at AT&T Park.
Starter Jeremy Guthrie worked into the sixth with a 3-0 lead and by the time reliever Kelvim Herrera got the third out of the inning it was a one-run game.
Royals manager Ned Yost allowed Herrera to bat in the seventh with two out and a runner on, as cries of angst went up across the mid west.
(Cito Gaston didn’t pinch hit for Tony Castillo with nine outs remaining down 13-9 in Game 4 of 1993 World Series and wound up a 15-14 winner.)
Herrera walked Hunter Pence to open the seventh and struck out the left-handed hitting Brandon Belt as lefty Finnegan warmed in the right field bullpen. Then, Yost went to Finnegan.
In Omaha it was rather a neutral crowd of 24,285 — no horse in the race — but at AT&T, outside of one section of blue-clad Royals fans, the 43,020 fans were booing the lefty hoping he’d give one up that plopped into McCovey Cove.
Is this any spot to put a 21-year-old who has 11 1/3 innings under his major-league belt?
Finnegan retired pinch hitter Juan Perez on a 1-0 93 MPH sinker to left and struck out Brandon Crawford on a 95 MPH sinker, the sixth pitch of the at-bat, giving the 3-2 lead to Wade Davis and Greg Holland.
They closed it down like a cranky bar tender at closing time with someone waiting.
The Houston Astros, Florida Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Your Toronto Blue Jays (twice, picking 9th and 11th), New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels, the Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks all passed on Finnegan.
With 16 names off the board Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg took Finnegan 17th, gave him a $2,200,600 million US signing bonus.
He’s the first to appear in a College World Series and the World Series in the same year. After signing he made five starts at class-A Wilmington, where he made five starts, went to double-A Northwest Arkansas, where Royals GM Dayton Moore and his staff decided to use him out of the bullpen and he made eight relief appearances.
He made seven September appearances (one run in six innings) and in six games in post-season play has allowing two runs in five innings.
Just what the Giants need … a three-headed Royals bullpen had sprung another noggin.
Lineup shuffle: With the World Series shifting west leaving the DH job behind, Ned Yost had to shuffle his every day lineup.
The Kansas City manager moved Alex Gordon from sixth to second in his lineup.
Mike Moustakas was promoted from ninth to fifth, where DH Billy Butler usually hits. Omar Infante went from eighth to sixth and Jarrod Dyson hit eighth.
At spacious AT&T Yost elected to play Cain in right and Dyson in centre. Dyson made a diving play to steal extra bases from Buster Posey and made a sliding grab off Travis Ishikawa to end the second with two runners aboard. It’s doubtful the Royals Nori Aoki makes either play.
“With this vast outfield, we knew that we had to put our best defense out there,” Yost told reporters before the game, “so that took Nori out of the No. 2 hole. We put Alex in there because of the speed of Dyson at the bottom, the speed with Alcidies Escobar at the top, Alex might get a few more fastballs to hit, and we liked Alex in that spot.”
Escobar doubled on the first pitch from Tim Hudson and came around to score on two grounders.
No Madbum: There was plenty of pre-game talk that if the Giants lost they would alter their rotation and go with their ace lefty Madison Bumgarner, who even boasted pre-game he was starting and was “not taking no for an answer.” After the loss Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was sticking with scheduled starter Ryan Volesang.
Numbers: This was the Royals 10th win of the post season and the first by a starter … Eric Hosmer’s single on the 11 pitch of the at-bat put the Royals up 3-0 in the sixth. Earlier Gordon had doubled home Escobar … Giants second baseman Joe Panik and right fielder Pence made fine fielding plays … The Series debuts by Giants Tim Hudson 39 and Guthrie, 35 is historic in terms of innings worked. The pair combined to pitch 4,619 1/3 innings. The most since Game 1 of the very first World Series in 1903 when Cy Young, who began pitching in 1890 long before he had an awaard named after him, of the Boston Americans, faced against Pittsburgh Pirates Deacon Phillippe, who began twirling in 1899,
Stars come out at night: The city by the bay can bring out the Hall of Famers:
Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry were recognized before Friday’s Game 3. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa was at home plate wearing an Oakland A’s lid, along with Roger Craig in a Giants cap as they did in the 1989 World Series. And Rickey Henderson was in the house.
Strict on Strickland: Bochy said he spoke to reliever Hunter Strickland, who gave up a two-run homer to Infante, lost his composure started screaming and a fight almost resulted.
“I don’t want him to think I’ve lost confidence in him,” Bochy told reporters. “This kid has a chance to be pretty special. A late‑inning guy, he bounced back well through the one great inning in Kansas City, really got ahead of the first hitter. He yanked that slider. But you know what, I think you’ve got to stay behind these guys.”