Blue Jays, Buehrle beat up Rangers

Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle throws against the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in...

Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle throws against the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Tex., June 14, 2013. (TIM SHARP/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

ARLINGTON, TEX. - It all starts with starting pitching.

That has been the refrain of managers since Abner Doubleday.

On Friday night it was Mark Buehrle’s turn to shine and at the end of an 8-0 blanking of the feeble Texas Rangers the question begs, are the Jays finally getting on a bit of a roll?

The Jays have now won three in a row, three where their starting pitchers have all gone the minimum of seven innings and that’s a first for the club this season which really is a sad and pathetic statement of fact.

They have won six of their past eight and now sit 30-36, marking the first time since April 26 that they have been six games under .500.

The short-term goal of the Jays is to get to .500 by the all-star break that begins July 15.

They have 28 games remaining before the break and that means they needed to go 17-11 through July 15 for them to hit that target.

To do that they need more starts like the past two they have received from Buehrle, now 3-4 with an ERA that dipped from 5.06 to 4.66 with the seven shutout innings.

In his back-to-back starts against the Rangers he has allowed just one earned run through 14 innings.

“I’m in a groove right now,” Buehrle said. “Hopefully it won’t change but I can’t really pinpoint one thing what’s going on.”

The key for Buehrle when he gets into a groove?

“Strike one, getting ahead in the count,” he replied. “I don’t know how many fastballs I threw tonight but everything off-speed was working. They were chasing stuff and putting the ball in play. I can’t really pinpoint why I’ve had success these past seven starts.”

The Rangers are going through a dreadful hitting funk right now, something the Jays have taken advantage of in their first two games here.

“He worked fast, changed speeds, threw strikes,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Buehrle. “He was just slicing and dicing. I don’t know if that was one of his better games, but he certainly was good against us tonight.”

Actually he’s pretty good against the Rangers every time out as with the win he improved to 13-5 lifetime against them.

As for the team turning a corner, Buehrle would like to see a few more wins take place first.

“Let’s hope,” he said. “It seems like we play good for so many games then lost a couple. This is a good team we’re facing and we have to come for two more games here before we go home. Hopefully we can keep it going, play on all three aspects of the game (pitching, hitting and defence) that we haven’t done pretty much all season.

The Jays would get all the runs they would need in their four-run fourth.

The big blow was delivered by Colby Rasmus, who drilled a three-run homer to right and later in the inning J.P. Arencibia added a solo shot.

It was the 11th homer of the season for Rasmus and his second three-run blast.

“I was trying to be on that slider so I was a little late on some of those heaters,” Rasmus said of his at-bats against Justin Grimm. “The first one (a fly out to the deepest part of centre in the second) he got it in on me just enough. The second I was able to inside of it a little more and get it out.

“After (Yu) Darvish last night, I was trying to be on those breaking balls a little better.”

Rasmus said he feels good at the plate and is working hard with hitting coach Chad Mottola.

Overall, he believes the team is playing better ball of late.

“I think so, I feel like some things are going our way,” he said. “Some of our pitchers are starting to settle in a little bit and I think that’s helping us.

“I think we’ve swung the bats pretty well all year. We went through a few ruts but now it’s starting to show a little bit. I think we’re making good adjustments a the plate from day to day and that’s what it’s all about.”

Another positive sign for the Jays is that it seems that it’s a different hitter who has been stepping forward each game, that it is not just one or two of the same hitters carrying the club.

“That’s how good teams win. It ain’t one person,” Rasmus said. “One person ain’t going to win it for us. Just like Darvish last night. He’s their ace and he threw good against us and we were still able to win, Esmil (Rogers) threw good. That’s what it’s all about, guys stepping up in certain situations and everybody having each other’s back and trying to win. One guy can’t do it.”

The Jays go for their fourth in a row Saturday afternoon with R.A. Dickey on the mound.

Time for Dickey to step it up too.

 


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