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Jeremy Guthrie is still winning in my book

By on May 3

The O’s pitching of late has been greatly improved, posting a 3.12 ERA in the last 12 games. Naturally, Jeremy Guthrie has been a big part of that, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his record. Unfortunately, that’s a trend Guthrie has become all too familiar with in his time as an Oriole and which, in addition to being disappointing, prevents him from getting recognition as the caliber of pitcher that he truly is.

In Guthrie’s last 3 starts, he has gone at least 6 innings and allowed 2 ER, 0 ER and 4 ER in those games respectively.  And he has a grand total of 0 wins to show for it.  At this point, it must seem like he’ll have to go the distance to get a win.  That feeling can only be compounded by the fact the O’s have never gotten him more than 11 wins for the season, even in a year where he posted at 3.83 ERA.  Aside from being yet another example of why wins are a worthless statistic for pitchers (I’m looking at you, everyone who said CC deserved the Cy Young over King Felix last year), you would think this constant disappointment would start to wear on him.

Indeed, Jim Palmer often mentions during O’s broadcasts how consistently getting little run support makes a pitcher feel like he has to be too ‘perfect’ on the mound, which of course leads to him trying too hard, overthrowing the ball and/or losing command, and ultimately performing worse.  But if that were going to be the case for Jeremy Guthrie, it sure would’ve happened by now.  And in fact, what has happened seems to be the exact opposite.

Take a look at what Guthrie himself had to say after going 7 IN and giving up 2 ER, but still taking the loss to the Twins: “I didn’t make the big pitches where I needed to. It’s a reoccurring thing and it’s not good enough, not good enough tonight, not good enough last time, not good enough the time before. So we’ll work on it, try to get better, make better pitches.” If you just read that and aren’t impressed, you may need to read it again, because that’s how winners talk. Not only is he not complaining or throwing any of his teammates under the bus, he is putting the blame entirely on himself, seemingly unfairly. All that seems to matter to Jeremy Guthrie is that his performance matches his own personal standards of excellence, which seem to be much higher than anyone else’s expectations of him, including my own.  And that is a comforting thought.

When I was at FanFest this year with my fellow ESB brothers, during the Q & A session for the starting pitchers, one guy stood up and asked Jeremy why the front office is always claiming they need to sign a veteran starter, because they already have a perfectly good one in him.  Jeremy was definitely appreciative of the guy’s kind words, but I won’t lie, I was probably more choked up about it than he was.  It just felt so good to hear someone vocalize our appreciation for everything he does, for everything he is, and for his unwavering pursuit of professional excellence in his craft that shows that he cares just as much as we do.  As fans, that is all we can really ask for.  And with Jeremy Guthrie, you know that you’re always going to get it.

4 Responses to “Jeremy Guthrie is still winning in my book”

  1. Casey says:

    Guthrie looked really sharp to start the game last night. Through the first 4 or so innings, his tempo was great, he was getting ahead of every batter, and really giving the offense a chance to put some runs up and take this one home for the sweep. Unfortunately it seemed like Chicago managed to take advantage of the few bad pitches Guts made. It’s really sad–the run support we give him. I’m worried it affects the way he pitches deeper into the game. He’s an ace in my book.

  2. Adam
    Adam says:

    Amen to that. I not only applaud his performance so far this season, but also his mental approach and personal responsibility. During the panel an FanFest, I also remember Jeremy going out of his way to take what were cutting comments about the team and do his best to try to interpret them in a positive light, and then go on to give a very solid answer.

    As I recall, the “question” was something to the extent of why no one on the team was capable of pitching complete games anymore. To his credit, Guthrie responded that he was disappointed himself about not being able to finish more games, but commented that if all the pitchers could approach each start with the mindset that they should finish games they started, he felt the results would be improved.

    It takes a pretty special person to find the good in a question clearly framed with intentional condescension and an even better person to give a compelling response.

    As much as I love Nick Markakis (and I think everyone on the planet knows I do) I don’t think many athletes, Nick included, could or would have demonstrated the political dexterity that Jeremy did so effortlessly that day.

    Add to that that he’s pretty good at this whole pitching thing, and I think you have the makings of someone who helps to make the best case about what the Oriole way can and should be.

  3. Jon says:

    I say he’s bad luck…

    Think we could get all our young pitching ducks in a row this season and then trade him in the off-season for hitters (to replace all the one year contracts we signed this year)?

    Then we get run support and we lose a pitcher that, while good, can’t seem to win a game to save his life.

    I love Guthrie as much as the next guy and maybe I’m just superstitious, but would this move be that bad?

  4. Mark
    Mark says:

    Jon-a-tron,

    Yeah there’s a lot of talk that once Matusz comes back, you could feasibly then have a rotation of Matusz, Britton, Arrieta, Tillman and Bergy, making Guts superfluous and trade bait. Personally though, I’m against that idea.

    First of all, I think if you trade Guthrie right now or in the near future, you’re probably selling low, because despite the fact that he is good and we all know it, the team’s inability to garner W’s for him makes him less attractive on the open market I think. I don’t think we’d even be able to come close to getting equal value for him.

    In addition, it’s my personal belief that he also has a tremendous amount of value, because aside from putting up a sub-4 ERA two of the last 3 years, he’s also (knock on wood) strong like bull, and consistently throws 200 IP or close to it a year. There are very few pitchers with that kind of durability, especially ones who are actually good.

    Lastly, I also think that talented as our young core of pitching is, it still needs guidance, someone to set the tone. Guthrie may not win every night, but he always pitches well, usually goes deep in the game, and NEVER, EVER, complains. He is a consumnate professional who I pray that all the young guns can learn from and emulate as much as possible.

    So I say keep him, regardless of what happens with the rest of the staff. It’s just my opinion, but it’s true. Just kidding. Maybe.

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