Jeremy Guthrie bleeds green
Orioles right-hander has always had a passion for recycling
Jeremy Guthrie loves cycling and recycling. If only the Orioles pitcher could somehow recycle the debris of this season and the three before it.
Since going 7-5 in 2007, the year Baltimore claimed him off waivers from the Indians, the 32-year-old right-hander has been the workhorse of the staff, averaging more than 200 innings per season, a number he will eclipse this year.
And he still is considered by many to be the ace of the staff as well. Even though he has lost more than he's won each of the past three seasons -- 10-12, 10-17 (a Major League high) and 11-14 -- he also has won more than any other Orioles starter in each of them.
That streak likely will end this season -- along with his three-year run of double-digit wins. In fact, he might become the first 20-loss pitcher since Detroit's Mike Maroth finished 9-21 in 2003, and the second since Brian Kingman's 8-20 record for the 1980 A's.
But consider this: A pitcher has to be pretty good to be given enough starts to lose 20 games and not be yanked from the rotation.
Guthrie never will share the blame, so to speak, even though the Orioles have not scored a run in six of his 28 starts.
"There have been games I've been given the opportunity to win, and I just haven't gotten the big outs or the necessary outs to win the game," he said. "There have been times I've pitched very well and times where I haven't done the job that I needed to do."
Since Opening Day, when Guthrie pitched eight shutout innings for the win in the Orioles' 4-1 victory at Tampa Bay, there have been three games in which he has held the opposition scoreless and come away with a no-decision.
One thing is for certain: When he stands on the mound wondering, "What's going to happen this time?" his thoughts are upbeat.
"It's like, 'Maybe I'll throw a shutout. Maybe I'll throw a no-hitter.' I always anticipate and hope for those things. My primary goal is how deep I can get into the game."
He may wear orange and black, the official colors of the Orioles, but his favorite color is green.
Guthrie's passion since childhood, passed down by his parents, has been conservation, whether it's not using fuel by biking the three miles from home to Camden Yards, or picking a plastic bottle out of a clubhouse trash can and depositing it in a recycling bin.
"Riding a bike is liberating," he said. "You get the fresh air. I grew up in Oregon, so it was always good weather for it. It's like freedom to be able to ride. The ride to the ballpark doesn't take anything out of me. It's short enough and relaxing enough."
He also bikes to ballparks on road trips.
"A few cities have rentals, and every now and then I know somebody in a city where I can borrow a bike," he said. "And I'm working on getting a travel bicycle for next year.
"I was always taught to not waste stuff and be grateful for the things we have. As early as I can remember, if someone told me it was good to save water I would turn off faucets. Now, the kids have learned not to waste water, whether it's washing their hands or brushing their teeth or whatever they're doing."
"Jenny [Guthrie's wife] will tell you I nag her a little bit too much about turning off the lights because she's not as good at it as me."
Guthrie's teammates don't rag him about his penchant for putting empty water bottles where they belong.
"They understand my passion," he said with a smile. "But once in a while they'll put one in the garbage just to see me pick it up and put it in the recycle bin."
Bruce Lowitt is a freelance writer based in Tampa, Fla.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.