Programming note: For the most comprehensive World Series coverage from Kansas City, watch "October Quest" Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., and immediately after Game 7 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
KANSAS CITY – The bullpen has been a strength of the Royals’ all season, and manager Ned Yost said he’ll dip into it quickly if need be during Wednesday’s Game 7 against the Giants.
If starter Jeremy Guthrie is dealing, Yost will ride the veteran for as long as he’s getting outs. But the urgency of the winner-take-all World Series finale dictates a quick hook at the first sign of trouble.
“The good thing about it is we’re really set up good for tonight,” Yost said of his bullpen. “But the Giants are, too, so that makes it kind of fun. But we’ve got Wade (Davis) that we can use multiple innings, (Kelvin) Herrera can go multiple innings. Holly (Greg Holland) can go multiple innings. We’ve got (Brandon) Finnegan that can go multiple innings, and then we’ve got (Danny) Duffy.”
Figure that one of the keys in Game 7 will be how patient (or impatient) each manager is with his starting pitcher, knowing there’s no need to save any bullets in the bullpen for the next day.
“Hooks are going to be quick on a night like tonight when you’ve got that much quality pitching,” Yost said.
The wild card in Kansas City’s bullpen will be ace right-hander James Shields, who threw six innings in Sunday’s Game 5 and will be on two days’ rest Wednesday night. Yost said Shields is available “if we get into extra innings.” Given the shutdown stuff of the late-inning trio of Herrera, Davis and Holland, Yost can afford to be more choosy in how he might use Shields than Giants manager Bruce Bochy figures to be with his own ace, Madison Bumgarner.
There’s thought that Bumgarner, also on two days’ rest, might be the first reliever Bochy calls upon if Giants starter Tim Hudson starts to falter.
For what it’s worth, Guthrie went six innings or more in 23 of his 32 starts in the regular season. He’s worked five innings in each of his two playoff starts, giving up one run against the Orioles in the A.L. Championship Series and two runs to the Giants in Game 3 of this series.