Guthrie may be Royals' top option for ALDS opener

Duffy, Vargas and Ventura also available to start Game 1 vs. Angels

Guthrie may be Royals' top option for ALDS opener

KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Guthrie looked ready to go scuba diving. He was wearing goggles and a snorkel.

Guthrie wasn't near any ocean water -- not yet -- but he needed the gear because fellow Royals pitcher Jason Vargas was pouring champagne over his head in the jubilant clubhouse.

The Royals, with a 12-inning, 9-8 victory over Oakland, were heading for Thursday's opening of the American League Division Series against the Angels. But who would pitch for the Royals?

  Date Time Matchup/Result Network
Gm 1 Oct. 2   KC 3, LAA 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 3   KC 4, LAA 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 5   KC 8, LAA 3 video

Well, the Royals weren't saying, but it could very well be Guthrie. How about it, Jeremy?

"I don't think so, but we'll find out," Guthrie said as champagne dripped over his goggles. "They haven't told me. But I threw a great bullpen today."

At least he was in the bullpen for the Royals in case he was needed. He wasn't, but he and Danny Duffy were the only pitchers left.

Guthrie, 35, has never pitched in the postseason despite his 11 years in the Majors. He's pitched well down the stretch, with an 8-2 record and 3.42 ERA in his last 12 starts.

He's been a solid performer since the Royals rescued him from the Rockies at midseason 2012. He has a 33-26 record since coming to KC. Guthrie faced the Angels once this year, giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings with no decision in a 5-4 win.

Manager Ned Yost's alternatives are left-handers Duffy and Vargas and perhaps even right-hander Yordano Ventura, who relieved in Tuesday night's game and gave up a three-run homer but threw only 13 pitches.

Until Brandon Moss took him deep, Ventura had been brilliant lately. In his last seven starts, he's gone 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA. That brought his season record to 14-10, matching James Shields for the club lead in victories. He also shaded Shields in ERA, 3.20 to 3.21.

Shields, who started Tuesday night, is on schedule to start Sunday's game back in Kansas City. It's the first two games, Thursday and Friday at Anaheim, that are uncertain.

Vargas has had a rough going lately and Yost has been talking as if he preferred to use Duffy out of the bullpen. So it could be Ventura on Friday, if Guthrie starts the ALDS opener.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.