What could help Guthrie is the familiarity he has with some of his former teammates in the four starts he has made since being traded three years ago, along with the success he has pitching against two of the Orioles' best hitters, Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz.
Jones has just one hit in 12 at-bats against Guthrie in his career, while Cruz is 6-for-24 with one extra-base hit.
Calling the opportunity “very serendipitous,” Guthrie said before Game 2 on Saturday that his knowledge in playing with and pitching against several of those he will face in Game 3 could be to his advantage.
“Every pitcher uses their experience both from the past as well as competing against those players to develop a game plan and develop what they feel is their best opportunity to succeed,” said Guthrie, who was 13-11 with a 4.13 ERA in 32 starts this season.
Guthrie, 35, said before the American League Championship Series started that the time away from Baltimore would help reduce any emotion he might have felt while pitching against his former team.
“I think history will be put, not even on a back burner, but on some kind of like rotating lazy Susan or something,” Guthrie joked with the smallest of smiles creasing his lips. “So this is a playoff game and each one of us is preparing to play a very good team on the other side.”
The biggest question for Guthrie going into Monday night will be the fact that he hasn’t pitched in more than two weeks, a 3-1 road win against the Chicago White Sox in which he didn’t give up a run and only four hits in seven innings, with seven strikeouts.
It was his third straight win and fourth in the last five starts.
Asked if the layoff will help him, Guthrie said: "I'm not sure. I've never had this much time between starts aside from being on the DL. So I don't view it one way or another.”
Guthrie recently pitched a simulated game “which at least gave me the opportunity to go out there and face hitters and treat them like I would in a game. That went well. I had a feel for my pitches.”
Royals manager Ned Yost said Saturday that he had “no concern” about Guthrie taking the mound for the first time in 17 days on Monday. Yost said that Guthrie had “command, action on his pitches” during the simulated game and looked sharp pitching on the side Friday.
“This time of year, Jeremy has done better with a little extra rest,” Yost said.
Guthrie understands the storyline many will be talking about going in -- the former Orioles pitcher who was a part of some very bad teams trying to keep his old team out of its first World Series in 31 years while pitching his current team to its first since 1985.
He faced the Orioles twice this year. Guthrie went seven innings with a no-decision in a 3-2 defeat at Camden Yards on April 26, then pitched eight innings while taking the loss in a 4-0 shutout in Kansas City May 16.
“To be in the playoffs with Kansas City is very exciting,” he said. “And then to come back and play against a team that I played with before makes it even much more interested and ironic, I think.”