This morning John Gibbons announced to the media that Marco Estrada will be starting in place of Mark Buehrle this Sunday against the Orioles. The Blue Jays veteran lefty had already been bumped back from Saturday to Sunday, and will now be given another day's rest, giving him a full seven rest days between starts.
Gibbons: Buehrle gets still another extra day, pitches Monday instead of Sunday. Estrada goes Sunday. Why? "Just a good move." #Bluejays— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) September 5, 2015
Thank you, Gibby, for that insightful answer.
Buehrle is clearly being pushed back because he is still not healthy enough to pitch. Recall the quotes from Gibbons and Buehrle after his last start (via John Lott):
"He did a great job today, but he didn’t have a whole lot," John Gibbons said.
"Not feeling the best," he said. "When you have 33 starts during the course of the year, you’re going to have games when you feel great and games where you feel like crap. [...]"
"I don’t know what it is," he said with a sardonic chuckle. "I’m searching. I think it’s a little bit of everything. It’s just that time of year. I don’t know if it’s dead arm or whatever. I’m going out there trying to give everything I’ve got."
In that game story, Lott also pointed out that Buerhle's average fastball speed dropped from 84 to 81.8 mph in that game.
Buehrle is a 36-year-old pitcher who has thrown 171 innings already (and is in danger of not achieving his 15th straight season with 200-plus innings) so naturally he should not be expected to be completely healthy, but being pushed back not just once, but twice is somewhat worrisome.
The situation may have seemed better had Gibbons pushed Buehrle back two days rather than one day at a time as he's doing right now. It says to me that the club is hoping for the best and re-assessing each day. Gibbons even fo floated the idea that Buehrle might get even more time off if necessary.
Pressed, Gibbons allowed that it’s possible Buehrle could get pushed back for following start in NY, with Stroman maybe filling in.— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) September 5, 2015
So before you consider replacing Drew Hutchison in the rotation when (if?) Marcus Stroman returns as a starter, consider that Stroman might have to come in to replace his "dad." And if Stroman cannot fill in that role? I think it's best to not think about the starting depth past that for now. We'll just have to hope that rest is enough to heal all of Buehrle's pains.
Ben Revere remains in the leadoff position, Justin Smoak playing instead of Chris Colabello.