We all know of Rasputin, the legendary mystic to the final tzar of Russia. His ability to survive was astonishing, as he managed to withstand numerous assassination attempted until he shot numerous times after being poisoned and thrown into the icy Neva River. Even then, Rasputin still did not pass from the mortal coil easily, showing no signs of drowning despite being thrown into the river which his hands and feet bound.
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The KC Royals seemingly have their own Rasputin in Jeremy Guthrie. Perhaps due to his status as the fifth starter, or his penchant to pitch to the score which can lead to some less than stellar outings that leads to our continual attempts to find someone else to start. After all, fifth starters are generally replaceable, and Guthrie’s career 4.27 ERA and 1.324 WHiP are about as league average as one can get, given his career 101 ERA+.
Yet, every time it seems as though we are about to shovel dirt upon Guthrie and look for the next in line, he drags himself back from the dead. Potentially granted a reprieve due to Jason Vargas being sidelined with an elbow injury, Guthrie responded by pitching his best game of the season, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk in 7.1 innings of work.
That outing came at the perfect time for the Royals, who have desperately needed to give their bullpen a break. This marked just the second time that Guthrie had lasted at least seven innings, and it was just want the Royals and Guthrie both needed.
It had been easy in the past to fault Ned Yost for being far too patient with his players. Plyers like Chris Getz and Mike Moustakas, among others, seemingly got far too many chances. Yet, we have seen the turnaround that Moustakas has had this season. So when Yost said that he had confidence that Guthrie could turn his season around, there was reason to believe him.
As it turned out, for at least one start, Jeremy Guthrie rewarded the faith that Yost had in him. At a time when the KC Royals needed it, and against their biggest rivals, Guthrie toed the rubber and delivered. Given his track record when he finds himself in this sort of spot, there really was no reason to think that he would do anything else.
No matter how hard others may try, Jeremy Guthrie just cannot be killed. He is, quite simply, the KC Royals version of Rasputin.