BOSTON - Make it 13-straight seasons with at least 10 wins 200 innings for Mark Buehrle.
If ever they start actually putting pictures beside words in the dictionary, the Blue Jays' left-hander's mug will appear beside “Consistency.”
Buehrle pitched six innings of one-run ball for win number 12. With one start remaining, Buehrle has thrown 200 1/3 innings for the year.
The Blue Jays beat Boston 4-2.
“He's had a tremendous year,” said manager John Gibbons. “A slow start and then he kicked it in, he was Steady Eddie and he's been doing what he's done his whole career. It's pretty amazing. He's logged so many innings over his career. Think about that. Never been on the DL, I guess. He's a rare guy.”
If Buehrle wins his final start, Thursday in Baltimore, it will mark the fifth-straight year he's finished with 13 victories.
Buehrle is the White Sox all-time leader with nine opening day starts. He threw a no-hitter on April 18, 2007, pitched a perfect game against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009 and followed up in the next start with 5 2/3 perfect innings before allowing a base runner. In all, he retired 45-straight batters, which remains a major league record.
He is one of only three pitchers in major league history – Cy Young and Sandy Koufax are the others – to throw separate perfect games and no-hitters and win a World Series, all with the same team.
All are accomplishments he'll better reflect on once retired. For now, Buehrle takes pride in making all of his starts, year in and year out.
“That's one thing, coming into the season, that I set my goal at,” said Buehrle of 200 innings. “Like I said before, I wish it was in a better situation and we were in a better spot but I feel like I went out there and had a pretty good year so far, going deep into games and getting to 200. It was a goal of mine I set in spring training.”
“It's unbelievable,” said Brett Lawrie. “Obviously he's impressive in this game with a perfect game, a couple of no hitters. He's the man. He just goes out there and competes and just does what he can for the team and throws strikes, gets ahead and if things don't go his way he just sucks it up and moves on to the next one. True pro.”
Buehrle is appreciated by teammates in the same way as R.A. Dickey. Both are notoriously quick workers. Buehrle wastes little time in between pitches, getting the ball back from his catcher and immediately toeing the rubber.
A player like Lawrie, as intense as anyone, thrives on the pace.
“I know it keeps everyone else in the game just from his pace,” said Lawrie. “He's throwing strikes. He's keeping hitters off-balance and he's getting ground balls and he's doing what he does and it's just fun because it keeps all of us in the game, allows us to get in the dugout, put up some runs for him. He's just great to play behind.”
Buehrle is respected as much off the field as he is for his work in between the lines.
“You get 25 Buehrle's, you're probably going to have a good year,” said Gibbons. “Need more guys like that, the Buehrle's and DeRosa's and those guys.”