Showing posts with label Jeremy Guthrie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeremy Guthrie. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Royals force Game 7, have history on their side

After 2,430 regular-season games and 31 postseason games, it all comes down to one night. The Kansas City Royals will host the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 on Wednesday to determine the 2014 World Series champion.

The Royals forced a deciding game by smashing the Giants, 10-0, in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura was brilliant, firing seven shutout innings. San Francisco starter Jake Peavy was terrible. The Royals knocked him out of the game by scoring seven runs in the bottom of the second inning. Ventura took over from there in a drama-free victory for Kansas City.

Peavy has never pitched well at Kauffman Stadium. I remember him always struggling there when he was with the White Sox. A check of the numbers revealed he is 1-7 with a 7.28 ERA lifetime in Kansas City. This was one of his worst outings, as he allowed five runs on six hits over 1.1 innings.

When San Francisco won Game 1, I reported that history was on its side. The Game 1 winner has won 15 of the past 17 World Series. But, there is also some history working in Kansas City's favor after this Game 6 victory. Consider:
  • Home teams are 23-3 in Games 6 and 7 of the World Series since 1982.
  • The last eight teams to win Game 6 at home to tie a World Series went on to win Game 7. The 1985 Kansas City Royals are among the clubs to accomplish that feat.
  • Home teams have won the last nine World Series Game 7s dating back to 1979, when the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles.
  • The 1975 Cincinnati Reds were last team to lose Game 6 on the road (vs. Boston) and recover to win Game 7.
The other thing that's working in Kansas City's favor? It has more pitchers rested and available going into this decisive game. That's where Ventura's long outing Tuesday was key. Jason Frasor and Tim Collins both worked an inning of scoreless relief for the Royals. Neither was taxed and both should be available tonight. Kansas City's three best relievers (Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera) have all had at least two days of rest. Even James Shields, the Royals starter in Games 1 and 5, could be available should Game 7 starter Jeremy Guthrie run into difficulty.

San Francisco has more limitations. Thirty-nine-year-old Tim Hudson is the oldest pitcher to ever start a World Series Game 7, and the Giants need at least six quality innings from the sinker-balling veteran. Peavy's early exit forced San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy to use Yusmeiro Petit, Jean Machi, Hunter Strickland and Ryan Vogelsong in relief on Tuesday. Machi and Strickland likely aren't available for Game 7. Petit had been solid in relief before getting hit around in Game 6. Will Bochy go back to him if Hudson struggles early? I'm not sure. If the game is close late, we'll probably see San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner in relief. Bochy simply doesn't have as many options as Kansas City manager Ned Yost.

There are a lot of things that are pointing in the Royals' favor for Game 7. But, of course, this is baseball. All this stuff goes out the window if the Giants get an early lead. That's why we watch. That's why this game is great.

Enjoy Game 7 everybody.

Monday, February 3, 2014

My dream of getting Bruce Chen out of the AL Central has died

Bruce "Cy" Chen
Bruce Chen has been a nemesis for the White Sox over the past three seasons, so much so that many Sox fans resign themselves to defeat each time the South Siders are scheduled to face the mighty Kansas City left-hander.

The loathing of Chen is understandable: The veteran soft-tosser has gone 7-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) against the Sox over the last three seasons. Thinking back, it's a wonder he ever lost two games. He always seems to pitch well against Chicago.

So, when Chen hit free agency this offseason, I was dearly hoping he would sign somewhere in the National League.

No sale.

He's back with a Royals, agreeing to terms Saturday on a one-year deal with worth $4.25 million.

All things considered, Chen isn't a bad option for the Royals or any other team at the back end of the rotation. Over the last three seasons, he's 32-26 overall with 4.18 ERA. Not great, but not terrible either. It just seems like the Sox have more than done their part to make sure the 36-year-old Chen hangs around baseball for another year or two.

If there's one silver lining about Chen being back in Kansas City, there's always the chance he'll lose his spot in the Royals' increasingly crowded rotation. Barring injury, James Shields, Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie will take up the top three spots. The remaining two spots in the rotation could be filled any number of guys, including Chen, veterans Wade Davis and Brad Penny and youngsters Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Kyle Zimmer.

Among that group, Chen is far from the most talented, but I'm sure quite a few Sox fans would rather take their chances against Ventura, Duffy or anybody else.

Unfortunately, Kansas City manager Ned Yost says Chen has a spot in the starting five. I'm afraid the Sox are stuck facing him, at least at the start of the year.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jeremy Guthrie has White Sox to thank for saving his career

Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is a journeyman pitcher. He has the numbers to prove it.

In 10 years in the big leagues, he's pitched for four different teams and compiled a less-than-spectacular 62-81 record with a 4.24 career ERA.

Two times, Guthrie has led the American League in losses. He dropped 17 games as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in both 2009 and 2011.

That said, Guthrie seems to have been a decent pickup for Kansas City. The Royals acquired him July 20, 2012, from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. Guthrie finished the year strong, going 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts. That was good enough for the Royals to sign him to a three-year, $25 million contract over the offseason.

So far this season, Guthrie has gone 7-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 14 starts. In 28 total starts with the Royals, he's 12-7 with a 3.44 ERA -- well above his career norms.

Career renaissance? Maybe, but if you dig a little deeper, you'll notice that Guthrie's sudden improvement in a Kansas City uniform is based solely upon his dominance of one team: the White Sox.

Of Guthrie's 28 starts with Kansas City, six of them have been against the Sox. Here are his pitching lines for those games:

Aug. 8, 2012 - Kansas City 2, White Sox 1
8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 6 Ks, 0 BBs - W

Aug. 19, 2012 - Kansas City 5, White Sox 2
7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 8 Ks, 2 BBs - ND

Sept. 9, 2012 - Kansas City 2, White Sox 1
8 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 Ks, 0 BBs - ND

Sept. 20, 2012 - Kansas City 4, White Sox 3
6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 Ks, 1 BB - ND

April 4, 2013 - Kansas City 3, White Sox 1
6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 9 Ks, 1 BB - W

May 4, 2013 - Kansas City 2, White Sox 0
9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 Ks, 1 BB - W

Guthrie has started 197 games in his career. The game on May 4 of this year was his first and only complete-game shutout. In 44.2 innings against the Sox over the last two seasons, Guthrie has allowed just two earned runs on 30 hits. He has struck out 34 and walked just five. He is 3-0 with a 0.40 ERA in the six starts listed above.

Here are Guthrie's numbers since joining Kansas City:
vs. White Sox: 3-0, 0.40 ERA in 6 starts
vs. all other teams: 9-7, 4.42 ERA in 22 starts

Take away his numbers against the Sox, and Guthrie is the same mediocre bum he's always been. I can't believe the Royals wasted $25 million on him, but give them credit, they do have almost an automatic win every time he pitches against the Sox.

Guthrie will pitch Friday night against Chicago. The Sox have fallen on hard times lately. They've lost 17 of their last 22 games. I dare say Guthrie is about the last pitcher they want to face at this time. But that's the situation the South Siders find themselves in Friday in Kansas City.