(SportsNetwork.com) – Few, if any, pitchers have had it easier than Toronto’s
Mark Buehrle this season.
The veteran left-hander goes after his fourth straight win on Sunday when the
Toronto Blue Jays try to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa
Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Buehrle has won each of his three starts this season, but he’s also been
afforded more run support than any starter in the league, as the Blue Jays
have managed 37 runs for him.
Still, Buehrle has recorded a quality start in each outing.
That was the case on Tuesday, as Buehrle held the Baltimore Orioles to three
runs and eight hits in six innings of his team’s 13-6 triumph.
“I wouldn’t want to be an opposing pitcher going up against me the way we’re
scoring runs right now,” Buehrle said with a wide grin. “It’s been fun.”
Toronto scored 12 runs for Buehrle two starts ago against Tampa. He is 11-5
lifetime against the Rays with a 4.06 ERA in 29 games (24 starts).
With a win on Sunday, Buehrle would become the first Blue Jay to win his first
four starts in two straight seasons and the first player since Jack McDowell
of the Chicago White Sox from 1992-93.
Buehrle also won each of his first four outings in 2002 while pitching for the
Runs may be hard to come by for the Jays on Sunday against righty Chris
Archer, who has not given up an earned run in his last three starts. Archer
suffered a hard-luck loss on Tuesday against Boston, as he yielded an unearned
run in 5 2/3 innings in his team’s 1-0 loss. He is 2-2 on the year with a 1.07
Archer blanked the Jays over seven innings two starts ago and is 3-1 in 10
starts against them with a 2.98 ERA.
Of course, Archer and Buehrle were caught shouting at each other from the
dugout back on April 16 after the teams were involved in a bit of a beanball
war during Tampa’s 4-2 win.
Tampa won its fourth straight game on Saturday, as Tim Beckham’s two-run
double capped a three-run rally in the eighth inning that lifted the Rays to a
Ernesto Frieri (1-0) earned the win after striking out the side in the eighth
inning and Brad Boxberger threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save for the Rays.
“The pitchers, they’ve got a great approach and they execute their pitches,”
Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “It shuts down an offense pretty good. We
never seem to hit a lot here, but you move on. Tomorrow is another day.”
Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson both had two hits in the losing effort.
The Rays won three of four versus the Blue Jays from April 13-16 in Toronto.