Jeremy Guthrie, the Indians’ number one pick in 2002, efficiently and easily shut down the Tribe’s weak lineup last night in a rain delayed game at Camden Yards. Guthrie had all of his pitches working and, despite a brief struggle in the 1st inning, quickly disposed of the Indians who lost their second in a row against the bottom two teams of the AL to drop to 13-20. The Indians are now positioned as the 3rd worst team in the league with the Royals and Orioles right on their heels.
Guthrie was outstanding, pitching for 8 innings, striking out 5, walking 1, and giving up only two measly hits. The Indians jumped on Royals ace Zack Greinke on Thursday but David Huff was unable to maintain the lead. The Tribe had a similar opportunity to score some runs early in this game but the rally quickly came to an end. With two outs in the first, Guthrie put Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner on base via BB and HBP. Jhonny Peralta singled home Choo to put the Indians on the board. The threat was quickly extinguished when Russell Branyan struckout to end the inning. The Indians would go 1-2-3 for the next five innings against Guthrie as the game turned into a snoozer.
Guthrie, who had a miserable season last year on a terrible team, has been an average MLB starter since he was picked up on waivers by Baltimore in 2005. But he has pitched brilliantly against the Tribe since joining the Orioles, giving up only 2 runs in 15 innings pitched against the club who drafted him but gave him little opportunity at the major league level.
Justin Masterson continued to struggle and has yet to win a game in the 2010 season. He pitched only 5 and third giving up 6 runs and 8 hits. He walked 5 and struck out 4. He managed the game fairly well giving up two runs in the 3rd as the Orioles scored on an Adam Jones triple and a Luke Scott single. Masterson fell off precipitously, however, as the game hit the 6th inning and his pitch count approached 100 pitches. He walked the first two batters of the inning and the STO broadcast booth quickly articulated that it appeared he was “out of gas.” Tim Belcher visited the mound and Manny Acta decided to leave him in and see if he could get through the 6th inning. It did not end well. After an Adam Jones groundout, Masterson intentionally walked Nick Markakis. Miguel Tejada singled back up the middle to bring home two and extend the lead to 4-1. Masterson’s night was over as he lost his 10th straight decision.
Aaron Laffey relieved Masterson and Rick Manning described his appearance as “horrible.” He allowed two more runs to cross, one aided by a Grady Sizemore error, as he often got ahead in the count but put two strike pitches right over the middle that were promptly deposited around Camden Yards. The inning finished with the Orioles leading 6-1 and with Guthrie cruising, the game was over. Raffy Perez pitched in the 7th and he continues to get shelled. He gave up three straight hits which led to an additional run. Both Manning and Underwood basically said he has no business seeing the mound in the majors for the Indians but he remains on the club as he is out of options. It was ugly.
The Indians continue the series tomorrow evening as Mitch Talbot faces Orioles young stud Brian Matusz. The Indians took 2 of 3 against KC and need to do the same against the lowly Orioles or else they could find themselves with the worst record in the league come Monday.
(Photo: AP/Ann Heisenfelt)