There’s Life After Rockies For Guthrie

(Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

(Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

Jeremy Guthrie is a survivor after enduring a horrible season with the Rockies in 2012. Pitching for the Royals in a swing game of the World Series is something he never envisioned when the Rockies traded him to that team, but that’s what happened to him last night.

He also couldn’t believe he would still be pitching in Major League Baseball after his confidence was shot with the Rockies. It took a trade to the Royals for him to get his love for the game and confidence back. There’s no question the Rockies did him a favor by trading him to the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez, who is out of baseball.

Guthrie pitched five shutout innings in the World Series last night until he ran into trouble in the sixth inning. He gave up a hit to Brandon Crawford and a RBI double to Mike Morse, and that ended his night. Overall, he gave up two runs and four hits in five innings of work. It was good enough to earn a win in the Royals’ 3-2 Game 3 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park, and that gives the Royals a 2-1 series lead in the World Series.

The former Rockie has it made with the Royals. He does not have to be an innings eater. He does not have to go deep in games. If he goes five or six innings, that’s good enough since the great Royals bullpen can finish the game. They did it again when Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis and Greg Holland threw zeroes on the scoreboard in preserving the lead. It must be a good feeling for Guthrie and Royals manager Ned Yost that the hitters have hit .161 against the Royals bullpen.

After experiencing hell with the Rockies, Guthrie must have felt like going to heaven when he was with the Royals. All he was looking for a fresh start and hoping to survive with the Royals. There were no high expectations for him like he dealt with the Rockies. They just wanted him to be decent at best.

Guthrie certainly has done that. He has gone 33-26 with a 3.92 ERA in 79 starts in his three years with the Royals. He has averaged 14 wins for the Royals in the last two years, and he has reached two double-digit wins in that span. Not bad for a guy who was viewed by everyone as finished as a Major League starter.

He also has been a mentor to guys like Danny Duffy, Herrera, Finnegan, Holland and Yordano Ventura. These guys have applied to his teaching when it comes to throwing in the strike zone. One thing he has taught these guys is having faith with their stuff rather than deviating from it. He always encouraged them to keep throwing and not thinking.

It’s a lesson he took from his stint with the Rockies.  He always tinkered with his throws when he was on the mound every fifth day with the Rockies. He was thinking on the mound. He pitched scared. That was the byproduct of pitching at Coors Field. As a flyball pitcher pitching at Coors Field, it was a recipe for disaster. It’s something then-Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd should have thought about before acquiring then-Orioles starter in 2012.

O’Dowd didn’t care. He was desperate to find anyone who can pitch for a team that needs to find pitching. He gambled on Guthrie being savvy enough to get out of jams. It turned out to be a disaster for everyone involved.

Guthrie’s struggles took a toll on him. He expected to lose when he was on the mound. He wasn’t comfortable pitching at Coors.  It was a failed experiment that had to end, and that’s why the Rockies had to trade him for another failed starter.

Guthrie understands he is not the only Rockies starter that failed. So many Rockies starters could not cut it at Coors Field, and some of them were good pitchers like the late Darryl Kile, Greg Harris, Bill Swift and others. As good as Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez were for the Rockies, pitching at Coors Field affected their mechanics and they never were the same. Jorge De La Rosa and Pedro Astacio were the only Rockies starters that fared well at Coors.

Give Guthrie credit for bouncing back from a horrible Rockies experience. It could have been easy for him to give up the game and move on with his life. He kept at it. He believed he can pitch in the Major Leagues, and he has certainly done that.

He is now two wins away from winning a championship.

It’s funny how life works sometimes.

Guthrie won’t complain or say anything to naysayers.

He is happy with the Colorado experience, and it made him a better person and a better pitcher today.

Contact or Follow Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter

Leslie Monteiro

Leslie Monteiro

Leslie is a contributor for Lightning Rod Sports. He covered high school sports in Bergen County out in North Jersey, and has written op-ed columns on sports such as Bleacher Report and NY Sports Digest.

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