Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle earned the 200th win of his career on Friday afternoon in a 12-5 victory over the Orioles. He is one of 116 pitchers in baseball history to have won at least 200 games. The lefty allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out two in six innings. He left with an 11-2 lead.
Buehrle, 36, has aged rather well. Since his age-30 season in 2009, the veteran has a 3.83 ERA in 1,243 innings. He’s Jamie Moyer-esque as he averages around 84 MPH on his fastball. Only teammate R.A. Dickey averaged a lower velocity on his fastball last season (82 MPH). Buehrle has succeeded over the years by working quickly — he and Dickey were baseball’s two fastest-working pitchers last year — and limiting walks.
Buehrle has also been durable, pitching 200-plus innings in every season dating back to 2001. He can become a free agent after the season and though he’ll be heading into his age-37 season, he should draw a fair amount of interest given his track record. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him pitch into his 40’s like Moyer.
If Buehrle is able to win at least 13 games this year as he has in five out of the last six seasons, he could finish the season just behind or tied with John Smoltz for 89th all-time on the wins leaderboard with 213. Among active pitchers Tim Hudson currently has the most career wins at 214. CC Sabathia has 208 and Bartolo Colon has 205.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.