Mark Buehrle’s magical season continued on Sunday as the 35-year-old lefty fired eight shutout innings against the Royals, limiting them to six hits and a walk while striking out three. The outing bumped up Buehrle’s record to 10-1, making him the first pitcher in baseball to reach the ten-win plateau this season. He also owns a 2.10 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, and a 46/20 K/BB ratio in 81 1/3 innings.
Buehrle has been at least one of the three best pitchers in the American League thus far, with Masahiro Tanaka (8-1, 2.06) and Yu Darvish (5-2, 2.08) representing his stiffest competition.
If the season were to end today, Buehrle would be the first starting pitcher to reach double digit wins with an adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) of 150 or better while striking out 15 percent or fewer of batters faced since Greg Maddux and Derek Lowe in 2002, according to Baseball Reference.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays improve to 34-24, their best start since going 35-23 in 1993, according to ESPN Stats & Info. They are enjoying a 3.5-game first place lead over the Yankees in the AL East.
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.