Thursday, June 16, 2011

6/16/11 Baltimore Orioles 4, Toronto Blue Jays 3

Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Game 3 of 3

Orioles baseball magician Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound against the Blue Jays in an effort to shut down the Orioles’ 16 consecutive losses at Rogers Centre, a streak that dates all the way back to 1999, when Guthrie was 20 years old. I guess I’ve been living under a rock, as when I considered this, I realized that Guthrie is a lot older than I had previously thought he was.

Chalk it up to my apparent AL East tunnel vision, but 2011 was really the first season I encountered Jeremy Guthrie and his work on a personal level. This happened in April, a typically whacky month for lopsided baseball…the 2011 season was no less whacky in this respect than it ever was (The Royals in first place!!). I’ve always admired the Orioles, and I’ve done my best to keep track of how they are doing, but in the first few weeks of April of 2011, the Orioles were shockingly good and teams that ended up better than the Orioles were shockingly bad during that time frame.

This was the time when I first really started noticing Jeremy Guthrie, and when I decided he’s really great at pitching. This game (one of the few I could watch after the free MLB Extra Innings preview ends in early April) really featured some of the best 5 innings of work one could ever hope to see from a starter who is really great at pitching. Guthrie delivers the goods, striking out 5, walking 1, and only allowing a single hit (ha! Corey Patterson!!) until being lifted from the game with a scoreless tie.

I believe he was on his way to hurling a veritable gem, but as in the case of Sir Cherokee in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, we’ll never know where this game could have gone for Guthrie.

This was Zach Stewart’s MLB Debut, having been called up from the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats…he was also very good (7IP, 7H, 2ER, BB, 4K) and looked like a million bucks, despite being called for a Balk (hey, right handers get this also…welcome to the Big Leagues!) and hitting Mark Reynolds. His 2 runs allowed/earned occurred in the 6th; the Blue Jays responded with 2 runs (1 earned) against Jim Johnson, in relief of Guthrie.

Sometimes great baseball games are decided in the 9th inning…this was no exception. Tied at 2, the Orioles sneak out 2 runs against Closer Jon Rauch (who was replaced twice by the end of the inning). The first was on a Fielder’s Choice RBI by Baltimore’s mystery flavor of the month, Derrek Lee; the second was on a shocking RBI single by Ryan Adams, his first career RBI in Major League Baseball.

Until that point, Adams had the distinction of hitting into double plays in each of his 3 plate appearances; two GIDP and one FIDP.

The Blue Jays came back with a lead-off HR by Adam Lind to start the home 9th, but the next 3 batters flew out, flew out, and grounded out, and that was it. The 12-year Orioles loss streak at Rogers Centre ends.

The roof was open, Jose Bautista did not hit a Home Run today.

Jeremy Guthrie would finish the season 9-17 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.341 WHIP for the Orioles. On February 6, 2012, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. I will still admiringly track his progress. You can follow him on twitter: @JGuthrie46

Zach Stewart would make 3 more starts for Toronto, with only one decision (a loss against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in an outing that was not very fantastic) and had compiled an ERA of 4.86 and WHIP of 1.860 before ending up as part of the bombastic 3-team trade that sent he and Frasor to the Chicago White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen (Jackson was famously sent to the Cardinals for playoff-value sucking Colby Rasmus). His WHIP in 10 games with the White Sox would improve to 1.520, but his ERA ballooned to 6.22. On September 5th, 2011, he pitched a 9 inning shut-out of the Minnesota Twins but would lose his next 3 outings to end the season with a 2-5 record for the White Sox.

Ryan Adams stayed in Toronto for the remainder of the season, ending 2011 with a .281/.333/.326 and .659 OPS. He would hit into a groundball double play only 4 more times during the season.

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