Guthrie embraces opportunity to start with World Series up for grabs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When you think about it, there’s probably no one better for the Royals to start Game 7 than right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.

After all, Guthrie has been delivering in huge games since mid-September.

"He’s our guy and we have confidence in him," manager Ned Yost said.

Guthrie has come through in big games all season, starting with a six-inning shutout at Oakland on Aug. 1, a 1-0 win that triggered a 5-1 road trip.

In September, Guthrie was a star. He delivered the only victory in a four-game home series with Boston. Guthrie also delivered a salvaging win at home against Detroit to avoid a three-game sweep.

Want more? Well, Guthrie was the winning pitcher in Chicago when the Royals clinched a playoff spot against the White Sox.

And Guthrie gave up just one run in five innings against Baltimore in the American League Division Series. Then he gave up just two runs in five-plus innings against the Giants in Game 3 of the World Series, another win.

"He’s been as good as it gets for us," left-hander Danny Duffy said.

Guthrie is eager to take the ball in tonight’s deciding game.

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"Well, I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for all of us," Guthrie said. "I think each one of us would appreciate this opportunity. I’m no different. I’m excited for the way the Series lines up.

"It’s not always necessarily who is your best pitcher or who you have the most confidence in. But I think you go with your top guns in Games 1 and 2, which is what happens, and then it just so happens the Game 3 starter has that chance or responsibility of pitching Game 7.

"I feel that whatever I bring to Game 7 will be my best. Hopefully, it’s good enough. All the preparation, all the work has paid off thus far, and that’s what I trust, and that’s what each one of those guys in there trusts. You put yourself in a position to be successful and accept the results and be grateful for the opportunity."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.