Guthrie needs to ‘step up’

‘If they kick me off the team today it wouldn’t surprise me’

Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie wasn’t so good in his first start in the Arizona Desert, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks. “He is a guy we need, simply put. We have kids in this rotation, and the kids the two previous days stepped up and gave us tremendous performances. He has to realize that he has to step up. We need him in the fold,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. Enlarge photo

Matt York/Associated Press

Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeremy Guthrie wasn’t so good in his first start in the Arizona Desert, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks. “He is a guy we need, simply put. We have kids in this rotation, and the kids the two previous days stepped up and gave us tremendous performances. He has to realize that he has to step up. We need him in the fold,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

PHOENIX – Jeremy Guthrie was worried about his place in the big leagues after his worst road start of the season. His manager isn’t ready to take the ball from him yet.

Guthrie (3-4) allowed seven runs to surpass his previous four road starts combined, and the Colorado Rockies followed a shutout victory with a 10-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night.

“If they kick me off the team today it wouldn’t surprise me,” Guthrie said. “I haven’t earned a spot here to pitch very well, and I respect the game. I understand how it works. I have seen guys come up and do very well and earn it, and I have seen guys who have done very well and lose it. If I don’t make another start here it wouldn’t surprise me. I will come to work every day as long as I have a jersey and do the best I can.”

Guthrie had felt at home on the road this season, allowing six earned runs in 24 1/3 innings in four starts away from Coors Field while going 1-2 with an 8.87 ERA in the thin air.

He wasn’t so good in his first start in the desert, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings, but Rockies manager Jim Tracy wasn’t ready to give up on him just yet.

“We are going to keep pitching him,” Tracy said. “He is a guy we need, simply put. We have kids in this rotation, and the kids the two previous days stepped up and gave us tremendous performances. He has to realize that he has to step up. We need him in the fold.”

Arizona ace Ian Kennedy (5-5) has put together a couple of solid performances after making a tweak to his mechanics.

Working to keep on top of the ball, the right-hander matched a career high with 12 strikeouts in six innings for his second consecutive strong start. He wouldn’t say what the adjustment was, but it sure seems to be working.

“It’s a secret,” Kennedy said after joining Randy Johnson as the only Arizona pitchers to strike out at least 12 in six innings or less. “It was just a minor mechanical thing. Sometimes when I’m out there, I can feel myself get under pitches, and it just tells myself that little key.”

Finally getting some run support certainly didn’t hurt.

A night after being shut out by the Rockies, the Diamondbacks hit early and didn’t really stop, roughing up Guthrie on their way to a season-high 17 hits.

Jason Kubel hit a two-run homer and drove in five runs. Gerardo Parra had a solo homer among his four hits. Aaron Hill hit a two-run shot and finished a double short of the cycle.

By the time they were done, the Diamondbacks had their most lopsided shutout victory since beating San Francisco 11-0 on Aug. 27, 2009.

“It was an all-around great effort,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.

Kennedy seemed to have good command of everything, despite struggling in the bullpen before the game.

The right-hander won 21 games and was fourth in NL Cy Young voting last year, firmly establishing himself as Arizona’s ace. He got off to a decent start this season before a miserable May, opening the month with five losses while allowing 20 earned runs in 30 innings.

Kennedy regained form in his last start, giving up one run in 7 2/3 innings in a win over San Francisco on May 30 to end the longest losing streak of his career.

The right-hander was good again against the Rockies, striking out seven in the first three innings, including Guthrie and Dexter Fowler with runners on second and third to end the second. Kennedy kept getting Colorado’s hitters to swing and miss after that, striking out 12 for third time in his career while allowing five hits.

“The curveball wasn’t really good in the bullpen,” Kennedy said. “But for me, to have my arm feel good and to have a good rhythm, I’m pretty happy with it.”