I pretty much wrote my entire game story on this, but it's worth mentioning again that I'm not sure I've seen Jeremy Guthrie as frustrated and ticked off as I saw him last night. Normally verbose and engaging, Guthrie fielded questions after the Orioles' 6-2 loss with his head down, answering several in 10 words or fewer. Usually direct and honest, his answers mostly steered clear of the actual question. Guthrie has done a fine job maintaining his cool and focus while pretty much having to pitch every five days with little to no margin for error. Since the 2010 season, Guthrie is 12-18, though his ERA is 3.70 during that span. In Guthrie's six starts this season, the Orioles have scored just 15 runs. In his past five starts, they've managed just six runs while he has been in the game. In Guthrie's 18 losses since the start of the 2010 season, the Orioles have scored just 24 runs while he was in the game and just 41 total. The Orioles have also scored three or fewer runs in 22 of his 38 starts over the past two seasons. Over the years, Guthrie has had some extended stretches where he has really pitched well for the Orioles, and he's in the midst of another one. And yet he pretty much has nothing to show for it except the win on Opening Night. I don't blame the guy for being a little frustrated.
It will be interesting to see whether Nick Markakis is in the Orioles' lineup today after he banged up both his right knee and his right hand in about a 10-minute span last night. He said he was optimistic that he'll play, though it was obvious that he was still in a good bit of discomfort. There is no need to take any chances this early in the season, and I'd like to see Felix Pie get a few more starts anyway. However, I'm not betting against seeing Markakis' name in that lineup. Since 2007, Markakis has played in 666 of the Orioles' 674 games. He's constantly icing something after the game, but before last night, I can't remember ever being at his locker in the five-plus seasons that I've covered him and asking him about an injury.
Josh Rupe pitched 11 games for Kansas City last year, so I guess this series will represent a homecoming of sorts. However, I can't imagine Rupe is feeling overly comfortable these days with his footing on the Orioles' roster. With J.J. Hardy potentially starting a rehab assignment over the weekend, Brian Matusz throwing in an extended spring training game Saturday, Alfredo Simon pitching for Double-A Bowie on Thursday and the Orioles at least discussing the possibility of signing free-agent pitcher Kevin Millwood, Rupe's struggles stand out. He gave up another homer last night to Paul Konerko, and he has surrendered five home runs in 10 2/3 innings this season. He also has a 7.59 ERA and has permitted 15 hits and five walks while striking out five.
Since it seems Brad Bergesen's career has been a roller-coaster ride since the July 31, 2009, afternoon when he was nailed in the left shin by a come-backer off the bat of Kansas City Royals slugger Billy Butler, tonight certainly would be a good time for him to break from the inconsistencies and pitch well. I've asked several baseball people -- scouts, coaches, former coaches, teammates -- the last couple of weeks about Bergesen, and the sense that I get from talking to them is that the 25-year-old is conflicted right now. When he was so effective during his 2009 rookie campaign, Bergesen relied primarily on his sinker. But it just seems to me that he doesn't have the confidence in that pitch anymore to throw it on a consistent basis. It's like the's so concerned with falling behind and having to give in to hitters that he goes away from it. Even while finishing strong last season, Bergesen was relying on his four-seam fastball, not his sinker. Ultimately, he got by and pitched well. There is no question that he competes. But if Bergesen is going to be an effective starter in the American League East, I think it's going to be because of his sinker.