Guthrie looking to make winning fit with KC
Right-hander enjoying recent turnaround, likes playing with Royals
KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Guthrie's half season with the Rockies wasn't much fun, nor were his first three starts for the Royals. But the right-hander certainly has changed things quickly with 15 straight scoreless innings in two victories.
"He's made a couple of little tweaks in his mechanics that helps him load a little bit more, hide the ball a little bit more. Nothing major, just very subtle tweaks. He's just comfortable, I think," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
After Tuesday night's 5-0 win over the Athletics, Guthrie noted that Kansas City was one team that he viewed as a good fit for him -- an interesting comment with him heading into free-agent status.
"Just a team that is young, hits the ball very well in a pitchers' park. A lot of times you see teams that have pitchers' parks and they don't score a bunch of runs. You might have a 3.00 ERA, but at the same time your team is scoring one or two runs," Guthrie said.
"This is a team that can score runs in a nice, big ballpark. They've got good outfielders that can go track it down, and I give up some fly balls, so I thought it was a good fit that way. We'll see -- it's a long ways away and a lot of things can happen in a short amount of time. As you can see, in six days I've had a couple of nice starts and we can talk that way, but I'll focus on being prepared for the next few starts I have before the season is over and see where we go."
Collins commanding attention with strikeouts
KANSAS CITY -- As a rookie in 2011, left-handed reliever Tim Collins had a good year, except that he gave up too many bases on balls -- 48 in 67 innings. This year, pitching coach Dave Eiland changed Collins' mechanics and so far he has just 25 walks in 58 innings.
An impressive by-product are his 77 strikeouts, a single-season high for a left-handed Royals reliever.
"The strikeouts are a result of being more consistent and throwing more strikes," Collins said. "I think the problem last year was not throwing enough strikes, and obviously I couldn't throw my offspeed. For me to get strikeouts, I've got to throw my offspeed for strikes and be able to get those guys to chase my offspeed in the count that I want them to. So coming into this year, the No.1 goal for me was to command my fastball."
The solution was to square up Collins more on the pitching rubber and get him on a downhill plane with his pitches.
"Not drastic changes, but for me they were a big key in helping me attain that goal," he said.
Collins was at his best in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 5-0 victory over the A's, striking out the side on 11 pitches, including 10 strikes.
"Last year, I couldn't really set guys up. I was falling behind so much that I had to throw fastballs in fastball counts and when you do that, you get hit a lot and if you're not throwing strikes, you walk a lot of guys so that was the result last year," Collins said. "Being able to command the fastball and getting strike one this year is what's helping me to get ahead and be able to get to my breaking stuff early in counts."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.