Mark Buehrle has made 14 starts, and it nicely breaks down the middle: his first 7 starts sucked, and 7 starts that followed have been very good. The demarcation line was his 7th start, and more precisely, the 7-run inning he allowed against the Rays, an inning that included a grand slam and a 2-run homer. The amazing thing about that inning was that Mark was allowed to finish the inning and he went on to throw 3 more innings, allowing just one hit.
How often does that happen? How often does a manager leave a pitcher in to give up 7 runs and how often does he leave the guy in to pitch more innings after that? I only found 2 other games (though there might be a couple more, the ADD kicked in and quit searching) this season where a pitcher was allowed to give up 7 runs in an inning without being pulled in the middle of it.
After 7 games, Mark had an ERA 7.02, and I kind of figured that Buehrle wasn't cut out for the AL East. In the 7 games since, his ERA is 2.54. That's a pretty big difference.
What's different? In the first 7 games he gave up 11.6 hits/9 innings, in the last 7 games it's been 7.4. In those first 7 games, he allowed 11 home runs, in the 7 since he's only allowed 1.
|Batted Ball Type||First 7 games||Next 7 games|
|Ground Ball %||32||43|
|Fly Ball %||47||32|
|Line Drive %||20||11|
Fewer hard hit balls makes for more success, hard to imagine.
What's caused the change?
I don't know. I guess the easy suggestion would be that the 7-run inning gave Mark a kick in the pants. Maybe he decided he didn't want to get embarrassed like that any more. I don't know, sounds hard to believe that he just suddenly decided he didn't want to suck anymore.
Maybe Zaun is right and J.P. Arencibia has finally learned how to catch him. Nah, I don't believe that either.
More likely, like just about everyone else on the team, he got off to a slow start and has turned it around.
I doubt he'll keep this up the rest of the way, allowing just 1 home run in 46 innings doesn't seem sustainable, but then I'd hope he won't go back to giving up a home run every 3.5 innings.
It does look like he could make it to 200 innings again, when earlier in the season I figure he had no change of continuing that run.
What do you think caused the change?