Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mark Buehrle: now with more groundouts!

Mark Buehrle put up another strong start for the Blue Jays today, (7 IP, 4H, 2 ER, 6/2 K/BB) and though he didn't get the win, it's another positive sign that he's getting back on track after a tough start.

His improving ERA and K/BB are easy to notice, but what you may have missed is that he now hasn't given up a home run in three straight starts. This isn't just luck; he's done it by getting more ground outs. He's gotten more ground outs than air outs in each of those three starts (11/5 today) after being on the wrong side of that ledger for the three preceding starts, where he allowed 8 HR in 18 innings.

Buehrle's been a pitch-to-contact guy for some time, and has always given up a fair number of home runs. As his stuff ages, he's going to have to keep the ball down to stay out of trouble, and it looks like he's been able to do that lately. Getting ground outs will speed up his innings and allow him to be the innings-eater the team needs (especially after days like yesterday, where Ramon Ortiz got knocked out in the third inning). He'll likely be facing Atlanta's high-power offence on Monday so he'll definitely want to make sure he keeps the ball on the ground.

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