One has to turn back the clock 14 years to check in on Mark Buehrle‘s first taste of the major leagues as a 21-year-old kid suiting up in a Chicago White Sox uniform. To this day, that first go-around marks the only season that the southpaw has not surpassed the 200 IP mark, and he undoubtedly would have if given the chance.
The Toronto Blue Jays have witnessed a spectacular renaissance from the veteran this season. Buehrle’s current ERA and WAR (0.64 and 1.6 respectively) are tops in MLB, and a 0.93 WHIP is icing on the cake. The question is: can Buehrle sustain this over the long haul of the season?
His credentials don’t exactly suggest that he will, and not even the elite can keep up this pace. When looking back at Buehrle’s opening start against the Tampa Bay Rays (an 11-strikeout annihilation of one of the best-hitting lineups in the bigs), even the veteran himself couldn’t believe what just happened in the post-game interview; expressing to Jays fans that such dominance should not be expected moving forward.
Buehrle has made a living on the corners and keeping hitters off balance throughout his entire career. Over this time, his performances vs. LHB have been his undoing as he has allowed a .423 SLGA to lefty hitters. Through his first four starts in 2014, that has dipped to an exceptional .150 level. Buehrle has seemingly found the elixir needed to fight off his past demons.
The inevitable falling back to earth will take place, but it just might be a smooth landing this time around.