I don't have much more to say about last night's game, other than....who expected Mark Buehrle to be this bad this year?
I mean, he looked pretty bad his first month or so with the team in 2013, when we all were thinking 'maybe he's just not cut out to be a starter in the AL East'. But then, he had that awful game in Tampa, when he gave up 2 home runs and 7 total runs in the third inning, but Gibby, in either an inspired moment, or perhaps he just didn't know what was going on, decided to leave Mark in the game and Mark pitched 3 more scoreless innings and then turned around his season after that. For the next 2 months, every start lowered his ERA. All-in-all, he turned in a fairly decent season.
So, we decided he was a slow starter (I mean, he was someone that started the season crappy, he's a fast starting pitcher), then last year he starts his season great and finished crappy.
When things are going good (mostly meaning we've scored him a dozen runs and I don't have worry about Mark) I think, isn't he cool, he just throws strikes and hopes they hit it at a fielder. This year it has been more like he throws strikes and hopes the rocket they hit back doesn't kill one of his fielders.
He never has been a strikeout pitcher, but this year he's getting ever fewer, averaging a career low 3.54 per 9 innings. He still doesn't walk anyone. He also has a career high .380 BABIP and maybe we can hope that goes down some but he's also giving up line drives at a career high 28.2% rate, so there is a reason he's giving up so many hits. He's also giving up a career high 1.93 home runs per 9.
I don't know what he's doing so much different. By FanGraphs, his "fastball" is a tiny bit slower (83.2 mph this year, 83.9 last), and his cutter is a little closer (78.9 compared to 80.2) but the other pitches are about the same speed as last year.
It just seems that he's leaving too much up and in the middle of the zone. When he's good, he's on or just off the corners and he doesn't throw hard enough to survive anywhere else.
I don't know what can be done with him. A guy with good stuff missing the strike zone, you work to bring him back to the zone. Like Buck and Pat say 'put the in the middle of the zone and let the movement of the pitch take it to the edges'. Ok, it is more complicated than that, but it is something that can be worked on. I don't know know what a pitching coach can do with Buehrle.
I don't know what the team can do either. They have to keep sending him out there and they have to hope for better. But, five starts in, Mark is yet to have a good start. He has a 6.75 ERA which is about where he was in 2013 when he turned things around. I hope he does it again.
On a similar subject, I'm surprised I don't see any fire Pete Walker tweets. Fire John Gibbons has become a cottage industry on Twitter, fire Rivera is a common theme here, but Walker hasn't had the same level of dislike. Not that I think he should be fired, I'm not sure what he can do other than just keep working with the pitchers and hope that work pays off. But it seems funny that no one is calling for his head. I wonder if he will the sacrificial goat at some point.
Not about last night's game, but I'm surprised that the Jays DFAed Matt West (along with Andy Wilkins), to make room for Ezequiel Carrera and Scott Copeland. I figured West would be moving up from New Hampshire to Buffalo and would be in the Jays thoughts for someone that could help out in the bullpen. West has pitched 12.1 innings for the Fisher Cats, with a 0 ERA, 9 hits, 0 earned, 4 walks, with 17 strikeouts. I like relievers that can get strikeouts. I wonder if he will clear waivers.
About that only other thing I have to say about last night's game is that Kevin Pillar's defense makes watching the games worthwhile all by itself.