Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If Guthrie Fails, The Orioles Fail

Jeremy Guthrie's struggles continued last night, giving up five runs on 11 hits in 4.2 innings in the Orioles 9-1 loss to the Athletics. On the season he is 7-12 with a 5.43 ERA on the season. He has now given up 81 earned runs in his 23 starts; to compare last year he had 76 earned runs allowed in a total of 30 starts.

This start was disastrous for Guthrie. His fastball did not move at all plus his curveball did not break much and was an easy target for the hitters looking for singles. As Jim Palmer said on the MASN broadcast, Guthrie does not have a knockout pitch like last year, which allows hitter to constantly foul off pitches to raise the pitch count and work Guthrie for hits.

What's worse, Guthrie just cannot seem to be good with Matt Wieters right now. He was solid with Gregg Zaun, but Zaun is no longer here, so Guthrie has to adapt to Wieters. The fact that Guthrie does better with a veteran is a pattern; he did very well with Ramon Hernandez last season and kept it with Zaun, but the Orioles have business to do with the future of Wieters, so these two need to start playing well together.

For the Orioles sake if they want to end this terrible stretch and at least play well in the rest of the season, they need Guthrie to do better. Even though Brad Bergeson returning should help, the fact is right now the Orioles are relying on four rookie pitchers in the starting rotation at any time with a rookie catcher. Not to mention this team is extremely young. It is almost a given that with the rookie rotation might of Hernandez, Berken, Matusz and Tillman, the Orioles will be fortunate to get 22 innings combined from their four starts, which tires out the bullpen very quickly. When Bergeson returns from the DL and replaces Berken, this can help matters, but that will still leave four reliable pitchers in the rotation.

The only reason I point out Guthrie is that he has been solid the previous two years and was supposed to be the Orioles ace. If he cannot, then the bullpen will never see enough rest. Maybe it is not terribly important the Orioles are not winning, but this has to be bothering the Orioles and the fans. The worst thing is, there probably is not an answer for this problem.

Except possibly next year. Or the Ravens on Thursday.

(Photo credit: AP)

No comments: