by Matthew Taylor
I tuned in to Saturday night's O's game with the simple intention of checking the score before heading off to bed. Instead, I followed the action through to Jay Payton's home-run-stealing catch for the final out. The reason? There's nothing quite like watching a well-pitched game like the one Jeremy Guthrie put together against the Mariners: 9 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 BB, 2 Ks. It wasn't just the Stanford connection that had me thinking of Mike Mussina.
Any fan who regularly follows the Birds can see the team's reasons for hope, which most often revolve around the cornerstone players patrolling the outfield: Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. It's time to get excited about Jeremy Guthrie as well. Guthrie isn't eligible for free agency until 2013 and, barring a trade or a complete meltdown, is likely to spend his prime years in Baltimore. And that's good news for O's fans.
-We got the guy for next-to-nothing prior to last season, purchasing his contract from the waiver wire for $20,000 after the Royals and Rays passed on him.
-Guthrie rewarded the team's decision by finishing second among
-In 2008, he's posted 15 quality starts and 16 starts with a Game Score (GmSC) higher than 50. He's surrendered four or more runs in only six games.
-During a season when most Oriole pitchers are struggling to pitch more than five innings, Guthrie is second in the AL in innings pitched, fifth in Major League Baseball.
-His 3.35 ERA currently ranks ninth in the American League, as does his WHIP of 1.186.
There's a reason that Dave Trembley gave Guthrie a full-on hug following the 29-year-old's first career complete game on Saturday that goes beyond the complete game itself. As Roch Kubatko reported after the Birds signed Guthrie, Trembley saw the guy's potential long before most others.
"Dave Trembley, former manager at Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Ottawa, has raved about Guthrie for the last three or four years. One of the Orioles' scouts, Dave Hollins, placed an immediate call to Stockstill once Guthrie was designated for assignment earlier this month when the Indians signed free-agent outfielder Trot Nixon."Here's hoping that Guthrie's long, winding road to the majors has found a steady, consistent path along Eutaw Street.
[Image Source: The Sun. Click photo to see original.]