Guthrie's confounding lack of run support
I wrote about it in the game story from Friday night, but it is worth mentioning again.
It really is one of those bizarre things, a weird baseball statistical anomaly.
The Orioles’ offense simply won’t score with Jeremy Guthrie on the mound.
That was in evidence again Friday night, when 24-year-old rookie Jeremy Hellickson threw a complete-game shutout, the first of his brief big-league career.
Guthrie also threw a complete-game, this one of the eight-inning variety. And this is all you need to know about his continual lack of run support: Guthrie has three career complete games and two are losses. In fact, he has four losses when he has pitched eight innings.
Guthrie has received the worst run support in the AL this season at a pathetic 1.73 per game.
Consider this: In his 20 losses since the start of 2010, the Orioles have scored 24 runs while he was in the game. That’s 1.2 runs per game.
In his last seven starts in 2011, the Orioles have not scored while he was on the mound in five of those games.
Guthrie says it doesn’t affect his focus.
“It’s easy to focus. I am a competitor and I want to go out there and pitch as well I can and so it doesn’t factor in,” Guthrie said Friday night. “I just go out there and try to do the best I can and today was much better. We were in the game throughout and always within striking distance.”
But there’s no question it has to be frustrating for him. He is a competitor. No denying that. And he’s now 1-6 in eight starts, which is awful, with a 3.98 ERA, which is pretty respectable in the AL East. Guthrie is tied for the league lead in losses and hasn’t won since Opening Day.
“You can only control what you can control,” said center fielder Adam Jones. “If this was the NL, he’d be able to hit, but you can’t. I’ve said to him many times, just keep doing what you are doing, we are going to get you some sooner or later.”
Jones is right. Sooner or later that trend has to be reversed.
But you have to wonder if this will take its toll on Guthrie. That he’ll try to be too fine -- thinking he has no margin for error – and get burned.
It’s probably the most misleading, unfair stat in baseball, a pitcher’s won-loss record. Yet it’s always going to be there on the back of his baseball card and under his name on web sites. And right now, Guthrie has a career ERA around 4 and has a career record of 39-54.