Don’t look now, but Mark Buehrle might actually be pretty
decent good again.
In a season for the Toronto Blue Jays where so much has gone wrong about their best laid plans, you’d figure something would have to go right, even if it’s by default. Well, Buehrle is the proud owner of that honor on the pitching side of things.
That might not actually be saying a whole lot seeing as how outright disastrous the starting rotation has been, but the veteran lefty has been trying pretty hard to buck that trend since the All-Star break. And with a 2.61/1.26 ERA/WHIP over 41.1 innings in the second half that included a downright brilliant complete-game shutout (… of the Houston Astros), it’s hard to argue with the results — even if the means aren’t always pretty.
Take his latest outing, for example. Though the final line will say that Buehrle pitched a brilliant seven innings of one-run ball against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, the fact is that the AL East leaders by going 2-for-11 with RISP, leaving 12 total runners on base.
No, giving up 10 hits and walking two over seven frames isn’t always the most effective path to success, but be it tenacity or luck (probably a bit of both), the Blue Jays hurler made it work through 111 pitches, even if it was far from dominant.
But at this point, results are results, and the Blue Jays will take a four-game personal win streak from a starting pitcher however they get it.
And so, Buehrle finds himself the unexpected and somewhat unassuming beacon of (measured) positivity for a Toronto rotation that has seen both R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson turn out to be busts, Brandon Morrow once again lost to an injury-riddled season, and a never-ending carousel of pitchers that have been short-term heroes at best.
At 1.8 fWAR, he currently leads the team’s rotation as the no. 1 pitcher, even though he was never expected to end up here.
Sure, it’s not a fantastic number, and I’m sure Blue Jays fans expected more out of the team this season. Then again … it also speaks to the value of consistency over a large sample size, and Buehrle is certainly as much that this season as he has been over his career.
In the end, isn’t that a major part of what being a rotation anchor is about?