Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 53, Mark Guthrie

MIAMI - JULY 7: Pitcher Mark Guthrie
MIAMI - JULY 7: Pitcher Mark Guthrie /

The Minnesota Twins are just 53 days away from opening day in Baltimore. As we near that day, we will tap into Twins history related to each number!

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until opening day on March 29th in Baltimore.

Minnesota has been blessed with a number of elite middle relievers over time. Some were more about elite-level performance for a short period of time, while others were more reliable for a longer period of time for the team. Mark Guthrie was in the latter category, and we remember him with #53 today.

Guthrie’s Twins career

Guthrie was originally drafted by the Twins in 1987 out of LSU in the 7th round, but he moved quickly. The lefty made 25 starts with the Twins’ Visalia club in 1988, with a 3.31 ERA and 182 strikeouts over 171 1/3 innings.

In 1989, he climbed all the way to the major leagues, making 13 appearances, 8 of them starts, with a 4.55 ERA while he was at the major league level. He opened 1990 in the minor leagues as a starter and got bumped up to the majors where he performed well, with a 3.79 ERA over 24 games and 21 starts.

In 1991, he worked as a swingman with the Minnesota Twins’ World Series club, making 41 appearances, 12 of them starts, throwing 98 innings with a 4.32 ERA. The Twins plugged him into a prime spot in the bullpen in 1992, and he produced, with a 2.88 ERA, throwing 75 innings over 54 appearances.

Guthrie struggled with injury thereafter, however, throwing just 22 games. In 1994, Guthrie posted a 6.14 ERA over 50 games. When he posted a 4.46 ERA over the first 36 appearances of 1995, the Twins traded him to the Dodgers.

Guthrie finished his Twins career with 240 appearances, 489 2/3 innings, a 4.19 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP, and a 174/388 BB/K ratio.

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Post-Twins career

Guthrie went on to have a number of up and down seasons with the Dodgers, but his 1996 year was incredible, posting a 2.22 ERA over 66 appearances and 73 innings. However, he followed that up with a 5.32 ERA over 62 appearances in 1997.

That sort of up and down would be emblematic of the rest of his career. He became a bit of a passed item after the 1998 season, pitching for two teams in 1999, for three teams in 2000, and for a different team in each season from 2001-2003.

Interestingly enough, two of Guthrie’s best seasons came in his final two seasons in 2002 and 2003, when he was used primarily as a LOOGY, making 133 appearances for the Mets and Cubs, but only totaling 90 2/3 innings, with a 2.58 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, though he had a 41/68 BB/K ratio.

He finished his career with an overall 4.05 ERA over 765 games and 978 2/3 innings.

Next: Who will be next in Twins team HOF?

As we get closer to opening day, we remember #53 by remembering one of the 1990s most reliable middle relievers in Mark Guthrie.

We look forward to that first day of the season against Baltimore!