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Guthrie off to Europe after solid finish

Orioles pitcher, Ashland High graduate was lights out in second half of 2010

October 6, 2010

By David Driver
For the Tidings
Used with permission

BALTIMORE Ashland High graduate Jeremy Guthrie, the Baltimore Orioles pitcher, is heading back to Europe in a few weeks. But nearly 10 years after he served a two-year Mormon mission in Spain, the native of Roseburg will cross the pond for an entirely different reason.

Guthrie, 31, will take part in clinics in The Netherlands, Nov. 6-14, with Oriole teammates Adam Jones, a former Seattle outfielder, and pitcher Rick VandenHurk, a native of The Netherlands. Baseball is very popular in The Netherlands, along with Italy, among European countries.

VandenHurk was traded to the Orioles from the Florida Marlins earlier this season and has stayed with Guthrie and his family when in Baltimore.

"He has been awesome," VandenHurk said of Guthrie. "I had this idea of bringing Major League players to The Netherlands. So I approached Jeremy and Adam."

Guthrie ended the season as one of the hottest pitchers in the Major Leagues. In his last start of the season he threw eight scoreless innings and gave up just two hits in a 2-1 win Friday night at home against the Detroit Tigers in the second game of a doubleheader. He fanned five batters and gave up just one walk and finished the season with a career-high 11 wins against 14 losses with an ERA of 3.83. He was 8-4 in his last 13 starts and tied for the third-most wins in baseball during that time.

"It feels good to finish on a nice note with a win," Guthrie said after Friday's game.

The right-hander was 10-17 with an 5.04 ERA in 33 starts last season after going 10-12, 3.63 in 30 starts in 2008. He was 7-5, 3.70 in 32 games (with 26 starts) for the Birds in 2006. Last year he led the American League with 17 losses and 35 home runs allowed. Guthrie gave up 26 homers this season.

"I think I was able to accomplish what I wanted, be more aggressive" in the second half, Guthrie added. "I felt something click in terms of feeling that confidence again. If I keep the ball down good things will happen. I feel I did a better job in the second half of the season."

"He has multiple ways to get hitters out," said Buck Showalter, the Orioles manager. "He has a plan when he goes out there."

Guthrie was again the workhorse of the Baltimore rotation, as he did not miss a start for the second year in a row.

"That is the goal every year," he said. "To make every start, if you do that good things can happen. You are there for your team. It is a real testament to (strength and conditioning coach) Joe Hogarty and the trainers. The little things they do go a long way. It is a team effort."

The Orioles began the season with a record of 32-73 but improved to 33-22 under Showalter, who was hired in August, after sweeping the doubleheader on Friday against the Tigers.

"We played good baseball down the stretch," Guthrie said. "If we do that next year good things are happening for us. We have had a nice streak ever since Buck showed up. We have done it consistently (as starters). Hopefully this will give us some momentum going into next season."

The right-hander retired the side in the top of the first on a chilly night in the Inner Harbor. He gave up a single to lead off the second to Ryan Raburn, but then set down the next three batters. Before Friday he had allowed 38 of his 93 runs to score in the first two innings.

An error and walk put two runners on with two outs in the third but Guthrie retired Brennan Boesch on a pop out to second base to end another threat. The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the third as Nick Markakis hit a solo homer, his 11th of the year, off Detroit starter Rick Porcello (10-12).

Rayburn reached on an error to start the fourth off Guthrie, who retired the next three batters for another scoreless frame. Guthrie allowed just an infield single in the fifth and then set down all three batters in the sixth, seventh and eighth. Julio Lugo had driven in a run in the seventh with a single to make it 2-0, which turned out to be a key when O's closer Koji Uehara allowed a solo homer in the ninth to Don Kelly before getting the last out for the save.

Guthrie has now won at least 10 games in each of the last three seasons. He went at least six innings in 28 of his 32 starts this year.

Orioles slugger Luke Scott, who played first base and left field this year, said of Guthrie: "Jeremy is very, very smart. He has a very good arm. He has power stuff. He is durable. He is a tremendous athlete."

Scott said Guthrie sometimes gets in trouble when he relies too much on his secondary pitches and not his fast ball, which Scott said has seen clocked anywhere from 92 to 98 mph.

Guthrie was slated to make his last start of the season on Thursday, but the game against the Tigers was rained out. That meant a doubleheader on Friday, and Guthrie got the start in the nightcap after Showalter tabbed young pitcher Chris Tillman to start the first game against the Tigers. Showalter said Friday he would rather have a veteran such as Guthrie, who was studying film nearly five hours before he took the mound, sitting around instead of a young pitcher such as Tillman.

Guthrie just finished his fourth season with the Orioles after he was acquired off waivers from the Cleveland Indians prior to the 2007 season. A former player at BYU and Stanford, Guthrie made his big league debut in 2004 with Cleveland. He also appeared briefly with the Indians in 2005 and 2006 before finding a home with the Orioles.

Notes: Former Mariners outfielder Jones had four RBIs in the first game Friday to give him 69 on the year, one short of his career high ... Guthrie, during 12 starts from July 23 to Sept. 30, was 7-4 with an ERA of 3.13. Only five big league pitchers had more wins during that time Roy Halladay (11), Ervin Santana (nine), Trevor Cahill, Jon Lester and CC Sabathia (eight) ... In his first six starts of 2010, Guthrie faced Matt Garza and Sabathia twice and Justin Duchscherer and Lester once each. Those pitchers are a combined 38-3 against the O's ... Dozens of fans sat in "The Guthrie Gang" seats at Friday's game ... The Ashland graduate, who lives in Utah in the off-season, became a reporter of sorts this year as some of his interviews with teammates were displayed on the video scoreboard between innings at Camden Yards games.