DENVER -- Jeremy Guthrie will get another chance to prove he belongs in Colorado's rotation on Sunday. "He's going to take the start in Detroit," said manager Jim Tracy. "I think he's well aware of the fact that we need to begin to see some significant improvement." The struggles of the Rockies' starting pitchers, beleaguered owners of an MLB-worst 6.27 ERA, have been well documented, but Guthrie has perhaps had the roughest go of it recently. He served a 15-day stint on the disabled list from April 23-May 15 after falling off his bicycle and injuring his wrist, and has not looked sharp since.
As bad as Tuesday night's start was against Oakland -- in which he gave up seven earned runs, including six in the third inning -- it was the first start in four tries in which Guthrie did not give up double-digit hits. When asked after the 8-5 loss if he'd benefit from skipping a start, Guthrie made it clear he didn't think he would. "I don't need that," said Guthrie, who leads the National League in home runs yielded with 15. "I feel fine physically." Guthrie is 2-2 on the road with a 4.23 ERA, compared to 1-3 with a 9.53 ERA at home. In Detroit, he'll face a tall task against an offense that ranks fourth in the American League in hitting. He should, however, benefit from playing in a ballpark that is much more pitcher-friendly. Coors Field has seen 28 multi-homer games this year; Comerica Park has 19. "[Coors] is different, that's all I can say. It's no excuse, everybody has to throw here too," Guthrie said Tuesday night. "It's very different than what I've experienced. The effect it's has on some of my pitches has been more than I've expected. It's part of the equation, not something I'd use as a crutch." In 21 1/3 innings pitched at Comerica Field, Guthrie has a 2.95 ERA, with two home runs allowed. In his 53 career innings pitched against the Tigers, Guthrie has a .257 opponent batting average. The Tigers' Miguel Cabrera has a .357 batting average against Guthrie in 14 at-bats, with two of his five hits being homers. Guthrie has never faced Prince Fielder. If Guthrie fails to go five innings or gives up five or more runs, it's likely the Rockies would be pressed to make a change. "We're not talking about the leash being from [first-base dugout] to the other dugout, we need to start seeing some results, some consistency," Tracy said.