MY NAME IS JEREMY GUTHRIE AND MY VELOCITY IS DOWN!
Would you like to hear how Jeremy Guthrie's velocity is down this season? Given his relatively poor performances so far, I'm sure you do. You're here.
I noticed Guthrie's velocity was down in his previous start against Oakland. I'm used to him tossing 93mph fastballs and pumping it up to 94 or 95 when he really wants to. Given that velocity, I'm surprised he's not a little more effective, but whatever. Guthrie's average four-seam velocity last year was 92.9. His average sinker velocity was 93. See the decline from last year to this year. His fastball and change are down; his breaking stuff is up. That's not a good combination.
Well, it's early. Maybe he's just getting into the groove. He's an older guy..maybe it takes him longer and longer to "get warm" each season, so to speak. I really have no idea about that, but Guthrie's velocity has steadily risen each game this year.
Next game, he could very well be back up to his regular fastball velocity. I looked back in history to see if this is a regular thing with Guthrie. It's not. This phenomenon (rising velocity in each of first 3 games) occurred in 2009, 2014, and 2015 so far. There were several other years in which he was pretty amped his first game and experienced a decline after.
Not surprisingly, Guthrie's average four-seam velocity in his first game this year was the lowest of his career in his first game of the regular season. In fact, Guthrie hasn't had an average four-seam velocity that low in a game since 2011.
In addition to the velocity loss, Guthrie just hasn't had as much control of the pitch as he has in the past.
I'm not sure I want to say anything his pitch usage patterns given the small sample size. I'll say this: he's decreased his four-seam fastball usage this year compared to last year and increased his sinker and slider usage. Who knows if it'll continue. If he doesn't have a great feel for his four seam, it makes sense not to use it.
As we've seen, the results haven't been good. On Wednesday evening, he stunk up the place by throwing about as many balls as strikes and walking six guys. He was pretty lucky that the Twins scored only three runs. He has a 5.50/6.51/5.14 ERA/FIP/xFIP. He hasn't struck out many people and he's given up home runs. It's only 18 innings, but those innings happened and they were bad. This is all with a .259 BABIP and 74.8% LOB, so it's not like he's been getting unlucky. He's been getting hit hard (26.7% LD rate), and he's been getting hit a lot (only 9.1% K rate).
In short, Guthrie's got a lot to work on. Velocity is just one of the things. I'm hoping he's just shaking off the rust, but it's always possible that this is the time that he's fallen off the regression cliff.