2 games for the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are in the books. In both games the Jays starting pitchers went 6 innings. The second game went to extra innings. What this means is that the Blue Jays bullpen has gotten a pretty decent work out so far. You know what they say: a rested bullpen is a more effective bullpen.
If only the Blue Jays had acquired a middle of the rotation veteran starter that has a reputation of being able to pitch deep into games and eat up innings. Oh yes that’s right they did, Mark Buehrle!
Buehrle is 34 years old and the Jays have him until the end of 2015 while paying him 51 million, more than any other Blue Jays starter. He’s old, probably the only player on the team that’s overpaid and he’s probably past his prime but there’s a reason the Jays were comfortable taking on his contract.
As you’ve surely heard by now Buehrle’s thrown 200 innings for 12 straight years. As you would imagine you’ve got to be able to pitch deep into many games to do that which is what the Jays are counting on from him.
You also have to be able to stay healthy to pitch so many innings every year. A starting pitcher that can stay healthy provides a lot of value because it means the Blue Jays will have to call up fewer pitchers from the minor leagues to make starts. Like we learned from last season that’s always a good thing during the course of a season.
Buehrle’s entire career minus 2012 was spent in the AL Central, the worst division in baseball a lot of years, so it’s easy to question whether he can handle the AL East.
We know Buehrle can eat up innings the problem is how many runs he gives up in the process pitching in the AL East.
Except that he’s not going to be pitching against an AL East team in his first Blue Jays start. He’s going to be pitching against a team he knows well from his White Sox days, the Cleveland Indians.
The Blue Jays are hoping Buehrle can do exactly what they acquired him for to pitch deep into the game and give the bullpen some rest.
Obviously there’s no guarantee that Buehrle will pitch deep into the game. Especially since Dickey and Morrow are better pitchers and weren’t able to go very deep against the Indians but baseball has a weird way of reminding you that it doesn’t make any sense.
One of the advantages Buehrle has as a left handed starter that Dickey and Morrow don’t is managers might bench their good left handed hitters which the Indians have plenty of.
Buehrle also plays Gold Glove defense, is good at picking off runners, doesn’t walk hitters and works quickly which only helps him get outs and pitch deeper into games.
The Blue Jays didn’t acquire Mark Buehrle to be an ace. They acquired him to pitch a lot of innings to keep the bullpen rested and to keep minor league starting pitchers in the minors. So now it’s time to do his job.