PHOENIX -- Rockies right-hander Jeremy Guthrie knows how ephemeral a baseball career can be. And after Tuesday's night 10-0 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field, he admitted that his current position could be pretty tenuous as well.Guthrie allowed seven runs on 11 hits, including two-run homers to Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel, before he was summarily lifted by manager Jim Tracy with one out in the fourth inning. Kubel had added a two-run single in that inning and had five RBIs in the game. "I don't take anything for granted," said Guthrie, who is 3-4 with a 6.35 ERA and has allowed 12 homers since the offseason trade with the Orioles that brought him to Colorado for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. "If they kicked me off the team today, it wouldn't surprise me. I haven't earned a spot here. I haven't pitched very well. "I respect the game and I know how it works. I've seen guys come up, do very well and earn it. I've seen guys who've done it well for a while lose it very quickly. If I don't get another start here, that wouldn't surprise me. If I got a chance to improve, that wouldn't surprise me either." For his part, Tracy clearly was not happy with Guthrie's lack of command, but he said he intended to keep rolling him out there hoping that he gets it right. Guthrie was bested by Ian Kennedy, who allowed just five hits and matched a career high by striking out 12 batters. The Rockies whiffed 16 times in the game. Guthrie's glitch came after rookie starters Alex White and Christian Friedrich combined to allow just two runs in 13 2/3 innings over the previous two games in victories over the Dodgers and D-backs, respectively. Tuesday night's loss was only Colorado's second in its last nine games. "We're going to keep pitching him," Tracy said about Guthrie, now in his ninth big league season with his third club. "Simply put, he's a guy that we need. We've got kids in this rotation, and the previous two days two of those kids stepped up and just gave us terrific performances. He's got to realize that we need him in the fold. He's got to realize that." Tracy also said that veteran third baseman Todd Helton will miss Wednesday night's closer of the three-game series here for precautionary reasons. Helton was removed in the fifth inning with the D-backs already leading, 7-0. "Part of it was [the big lead]. Part of it was that he dove three or four times and was getting stiff," Tracy said. "Rather than run the risk of injuring [him], we took him out of the game. We'll give him a day off tomorrow and with the off-day on Thursday, that will give him back-to-back days." Guthrie injured his right shoulder falling to the ground when his bicycle chain broke on April 20. He has won twice since then, but in his last four starts he has give up 24 runs on 40 hits in 21 1/3 innings. That hasn't done much for his confidence. "The accident did not help me, but it's not a lingering pain I can feel when I pitch," Guthrie said. "I can feel it when I don't pitch in certain movements. The time off hurt me, and the thought that it happened is not a good thing. But that's not an excuse for anything that's happened on the field. I just haven't pitched very good." Meanwhile, Kennedy had one of his better starts of the season. He was removed before the start of the seventh after throwing 103 pitches. Last year, Kennedy was 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA, placing him fourth in the voting for the National League Cy Young Award. This year, the win evened Kennedy's record at 5-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.93. The Rockies threatened at times against him, putting five runners in scoring position, but to no avail. Wilin Rosario, Marco Scutaro and Michael Cuddyer all had doubles, but all were stranded on base. By that time, anyway, the D-backs had piled up their big lead off Guthrie. They had a season-high 17 hits and three homers. "It's nice to have your offense give you that support," Kennedy said. "It makes you pitch a lot different, and it makes you feel like you can hit your spot and you have that cushion. It definitely makes you real comfortable out there."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.