On July 20 of 2012, the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies made a trade that appeared like they were trading each others disappointing starting pitchers at the time, as the Royals traded Johnathan Sanchez to the Rockies and got Jeremy Guthrie in return.
Yet, it has turned out to be a great trade for the Royals as Guthrie has been one of the best starting pitchers in not just the American League, but in all of MLB since that trade.
Tonight, Guthrie seeks to extend his unbeaten streak to 19 games as he starts the second of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. He will come into the game with a record of 5-0 and an ERA of 2.28 in seven starts so far this season.
His excellent start to the 2013 season has given the Royals a boost in many ways, as the team is 19-16 and just a game and a half behind the Detroit Tigers in first place in the AL Central standings.
Apart from being a pleasant surprise of being more than just a serviceable veteran starting pitcher for the Royals, what Guthrie has done is has helped stabilize the starting rotation for manager Ned Yost. With the addition of James Shields on the offseason, having legitimate No. 1 and 2 starters has allowed the rest of the members of the staff and bullpen to fall into roles more suited to their skill set where they can excel.
The Royals have won six of last the seven games in which Guthrie has started, and will look to make it eight of nine tonight against the Angels. The Royals did a good job of taking advantage of scoring runs with runners in scoring position Monday night.
However, the key of this game — and this season for the Royals so far — is an improved overall performance from the rotation, and the man who most symbolizes this upturn in fortunes is Jeremy Guthrie.