2001 MLB Postseason - Indians vs. Mariners
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Unhappy return

Finley founders in first playoff appearance since 1986

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Posted: Thursday October 11, 2001 9:28 PM
  Chuck Finley Chuck Finley gave up four runs before recording an out Thursday. AP

SEATTLE (AP) -- Chuck Finley certainly didn't have this in mind for his playoff comeback.

The Cleveland left-hander had thrown 14 pitches Thursday, and Game 2 of the Indians' AL Division Series against the Seattle Mariners was more or less over.

Seattle hit a pair of two-run homers off the 38-year-old in the first inning on the way to a 5-1 win that evened the best-of-five series at 1-all.

"I've been looking forward to this for a long time," Finley said. "I told myself to relax and enjoy it. I enjoyed it, but I didn't relax."

This was supposed to be a postseason revival for Finley, who last pitched in the playoffs in 1986 as a rookie for the California Angels.

He had anticipated the challenge of facing the team with the best record in baseball this season. Finley came into the game with a 19-8 record versus Seattle during his 16-year career.

He wound up making an early exit.

And at his age, there might not be that many more chances for him.

Finley hopes that's not the case. He wants another shot if Cleveland can take two more from Seattle.

"I know what I did wrong, and it's up to me to correct," he said.

Finley stared at the ground as he escaped into the dugout after being pulled in the fifth inning. Right-hander David Riske took over after Finley's 4 1/3 innings.

Finley gave up five runs, three homers, on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

It took the Indians one inning to beat the Mariners in Game 1, and one inning to lose Game 2. Cleveland, which scored four of its five runs in the fourth inning of the series opener, trailed 4-0 with no outs in the first.

"He settled down and pitched great," Riske said. "It's not easy to get that first out."

Finley gave up two-run homers to Mike Cameron and Edgar Martinez in the initial inning, and a solo shot to David Bell in the fifth. It was quite a contrast from his recent outings; he'd given up just two home runs in his past 11 starts.

"What happened on him was just what we didn't want to have happen," Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel said. "He made two mistakes. The two home runs were mistakes."

Finley wasn't all bad, however. After the homer to Martinez, he retired 12 straight batters before Bell's homer sailed over the left-center-field fence.

After that, he was pretty much done. He came out two batters later.

"After four runs went across, I told myself there's nothing I can do about it now, and to move on," Finley said.

This is the way things have gone for Finley in 2001.

He was limited to 22 starts because of neck spasms that forced him to spend two stints on the disabled list.

Finley signed a three-year, $27 million deal before last season to pitch in big games. He had a strong finish for the second straight year, going 9-2 the past two Septembers.

"I'm happy for him," said Cleveland lefty Rich Rodriguez. "Fourteen pitches was all it was, but he settled down and stopped the bleeding. Other than the first inning, he pitched great and it ended on a positive note."

Though the ending wasn't what he wanted, Finley took pride in just being part of the playoffs again. He did have fun.

"I enjoyed the experience. I had a great time," Finley said. "I wish the results were different.

"I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up. I went out there and gave all I had. I threw my stuff."

 
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