Moore's faith in Guthrie pays dividends early
APR 04, 2013 5:31p ET
That’s when general manager Dayton Moore got the green light from owner David Glass to re-sign right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year, $25 million deal.
Several baseball observers criticized the deal, arguing that giving $25 million to a 33-year-old pitcher such as Guthrie was too risky, especially after Guthrie’s unsightly stint with Colorado (3-9, 6.35 ERA) last season.
But Moore was sold on Guthrie’s resurgence with the Royals last summer. After the disaster in Colorado, Guthrie was 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in the final two months with the Royals.
And Moore saw a pitcher he believed had plenty left in the tank.
"Jeremy pitched very well for us," Moore said last November. "He's someone we liked a great deal. We feel he can give us innings, give us consistency and everything you want in a starting pitcher."
Guthrie demonstrated Thursday why Moore maintained that faith.
Guthrie kept the White Sox (five homers in the first two games of the series) in the ballpark, and limited them to five hits and one run through six innings. He also struck out nine and walked just one.
"He was phenomenal," Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters in Chicago. "He just kept mixing his pitches and keeping them off-balance. Just a great outing."
Guthrie also showed why he already is such a favorite in the Royals’ clubhouse – like James Shields, Guthrie is a fighter when he has men on base.
The first example was the White Sox third inning. Guthrie had struck out four of the first six hitters he faced, but he walked Tyler Flowers with one out in the third.
Then Gordon Beckham was badly jammed by a Guthrie fastball, but managed to bloop a single to right, sending Flowers to third.
Guthrie then unleashed a wicked slider to Alejandro De Aza, who rolled a grounder to second baseman Chris Getz, who started a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Keeping the score 0-0 at the time was huge, considering the Royals’ offense continues to slumber in the early season.
The Royals finally showed some offensive life in the fifth. With one out, Eric Hosmer walked, and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Jeff Francoeur. Jarrod Dyson followed with a RBI groundout, which sent Francoeur to second.
Getz singled home Francoeur, and Alex Gordon doubled in Getz to make it 3-0.
Gordon made it clear who the game’s offensive hero was.
"Ned Yost was the player of the game," Gordon told FOXSportsKansasCity’s Joel Goldberg after the game. "He opened it up (by calling) the hit and run with Frenchy."
But the Royals were far from home free, and once again Guthrie had to grind to protect the lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Flowers was nicked by a pitch with two outs. Once again, Beckham singled to right, sending Flowers to third. This time, De Aza singled to right, scoring Flowers, making it 3-1.
But Guthrie, needing to reach deep, threw a tight and unhittable slider on the outside corner on a 2-2 count to Jeff Keppinger, who swung and missed.
The White Sox threatened again in the bottom of the sixth when Alex Rios led off with a single. But once again, Guthrie went to work. He got the dangerous Adam Dunn to fly out to left, and the equally dangerous Paul Konerko to do the same.
That brought up Dayan Viciedo, who had homered Wednesday off Ervin Santana. Guthrie and Viciedo battled to a full count, when Guthrie reached back and blew a 95-mph fastball past Viciedo to end the inning.
From there, the Royals’ bullpen turned in three shutout innings to secure the win.
"(Guthrie) has been doing that to the White Sox for two years now," Gordon said. "He was keeping them off-balance. He really battled."
Just as the Royals figured he would.
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