Rangers-Blue Jays Preview
The Toronto Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle made the AL All-Star team following a terrific first half, but things didn't exactly go his way down the stretch.
Buehrle tries to snap a seven-start winless drought in Sunday's series finale against the visiting Texas Rangers.
After opening 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA, Buehrle (10-6, 2.64 ERA) has gone 0-5 with a 3.60 ERA since June 7. The veteran left-hander was removed after laboring through a season-low five innings in his final appearance before the break, yielding two runs and nine hits last Friday in an 8-5 win at Tampa Bay.
"I'm frustrated with myself. To go five innings, that's not really called for," Buehrle said after throwing 93 pitches. "I'm upset with it. ... I put the bullpen in a tough situation. I need to go deeper into games to give us a chance to win."
Buehrle is 13-5 with a 3.12 ERA against the Rangers, including 2-0 with a 1.95 mark in his last four matchups. He surrendered two runs over 6 2-3 innings but didn't receive a decision in a 4-2 win at Texas on May 17.
Geovany Soto and Elvis Andrus are a combined 4 for 39 against Buehrle while Alex Rios is 5 for 28. However, Rios isn't expected to be in the lineup after leaving Saturday's 4-1 defeat with a sprained right ankle.
"It's not bad, but I'm going to keep him off that turf," manager Ron Washington said. "Hopefully he'll be ready to go when we get to New York (on Monday)."
Texas (39-58), which won 5-1 the night before to snap an eight-game skid, has posted a 4-23 record since June 17. The major league-worst Rangers are hitting .205 with runners in scoring position over that time, including Saturday's 1-for-8 display.
Shin-Soo Choo, hitless in his last 21 at-bats with 11 strikeouts, is expected to get the day off Sunday. Leonys Martin is also struggling, going 3 for his last 21.
The Blue Jays (50-48) had dropped three straight and nine of 11 before bouncing back. Melky Cabrera went 3 for 4 with a run scored and Dan Johnson drove in two.
All-Star right fielder Jose Bautista, mired in a 6-for-32 funk, missed time with a hamstring issue late last month and was the team's designated hitter Saturday.
"Bautista is still guarding (his hamstring) a little bit, but I don't think he's far from (being 100 percent)," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. "We've got him DHing to give him a breather, but we still need him out there."
Bautista will try to break out against Nick Tepesch (3-5, 4.31). The right-hander is on the verge of losing a career-worst third straight start after yielding three runs over six-plus innings in last Friday's 3-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.
Tepesch has gone 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in his last four road outings while receiving a combined three runs of support. He allowed six runs over seven innings in his only appearance against Toronto, a 6-1 road loss last June 7.
Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen was unavailable Saturday due to an illness, leaving his status for this game in question.