Toronto and Baltimore have both been plagued by injuries to their starting rotation, but they’ve each found a pair of young pitchers to help out.
After 13 relief appearances, Marcum (2-2, 4.13 ERA) was moved into Toronto’s rotation earlier this month when Victor Zambrano went on the disabled list. He threw six hitless innings in his first start on May 13 against Tampa Bay and ran his hitless streak to 10 before the Phillies’ Chase Utley homered leading off the bottom of the fifth in his 13-2 win at Philadelphia on Saturday.
Marcum, who was pulled after 78 pitches despite his no-hit bid in his first start, threw 85 against the Phillies—58 of them strikes—while allowing two runs in six innings.
“It’s a little different mind-set,” Marcum said of moving from the bullpen to the rotation. “But, it’s still a matter of pitching. I was just trying to throw strikes and keep them off-balance.”
Marcum also started last season in the bullpen before going 3-4 with a 4.72 ERA in 14 starts. The Blue Jays (20-25) have certainly been impressed since converting him to a starter again this year.
“He’ll stay in the rotation,” manager John Gibbons said.
Marcum is 0-1 with a 9.49 ERA in two starts and four overall appearances against the Orioles. He allowed two runs while recording just one out in a relief appearance in Baltimore on April 20, and gave up nine runs in 4 1-3 innings in his last start against the Orioles, a 15-0 road loss on Aug. 19.
Guthrie (2-1, 2.95), meanwhile, allowed just one run in seven innings and struck out a career-high 10 in Baltimore’s 3-2, 11-inning win in Washington on Saturday. In replacing the injured Jaret Wright and making three starts, Guthrie has conceded just two earned runs in 21 1-3 innings, but has just one win to show for it.
“That’s three times in a row now,” manager Sam Perlozzo told the Orioles’ team Web site. “He’s certainly establishing himself as a pretty good starter so far. We’re excited about that. It’s a shame we didn’t get a couple more runs for him to get him a win.”
Before his current run, Guthrie had made six relief outings and one start, a 4-2 loss to Oakland on April 24 in which he allowed just one unearned run in five innings. He has never faced Toronto.
The Orioles (21-25) beat the Blue Jays 5-2 on Wednesday for their third win in five games and first their last five games against Toronto. Brian Roberts went 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI and is hitting .447 (17-for-38) over his last 10 games.
Baltimore’s bullpen pitched three scoreless innings after not allowing a run in 4 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s 6-4, series-opening loss. Entering this series, Orioles relievers had allowed runs in 20 of 26 games, compiling a 6.89 ERA over that span.
“That kind of brought back memories from the first part of the season, when we were going so well and the bullpen was coming in and getting it done,” Perlozzo said.