CLEVELAND – If Friday’s outing was indeed the last Opening Day start Mark Buehrle will make for the White Sox, then his teammates wanted to make sure it would be a day to remember.
The free-agent to be actually was reduced to a supporting role once the offense got going in an eventual 15-10 victory. After one inning the score was 2-0. After three it was 6-0. One more inning later and the White Sox were up 14-0.
“I’ll take it every time,” Buehrle said. “Obviously, you want runs. I told the guys in the first inning, ‘Go out and get me five.’ They got me two and said, ‘Hey, is that enough?’ ‘No, keep them coming.’ We got to 14 and I said, ‘All right, I think that’s probably good. Save some for [Edwin] Jackson tomorrow.’ Obviously, you love to get that many runs but you know it’s not going to happen every time.”
For a while, Buehrle was just as impressive as the offense that supported him. He had allowed just two hits until the Indians went to work in the sixth inning, scoring four runs off the left-hander. He was replaced by Will Ohman to start the seventh inning.
“He was good,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He sat down for so long, for so many innings, but he threw the ball very well.”
Buehrle simply looked like he ran out of gas in the sixth inning, but he agreed with his manager that the long stretches while watching the offense build the score proved taxing.
“Sitting in the dugout, I tried to do everything I could,” Buehrle said. “I’d go down there and get on the bike and try to stay sweating in between innings. Sitting for 20 minutes is good because they’re scoring runs, but you try to do everything you can to stay loose and not tighten up. But I think over a couple innings sitting there for a while and just getting on the bike, it kind of caught up to me.”
His 6.00 ERA doesn’t seem representative of how good he pitched for most of the game, but Buehrle won’t sweat it. He never does.
“If they score 14 every game, I think we’ll be all right,” Buehrle said. “I think there were a couple innings there when you get a big lead like that you don’t want to just keep on throwing all your breaking pitches. You just kind of come at them with your fastball and I got into some trouble there in that last inning and actually had to start pitching. I was kind of using everything and leaving some pitches over the middle and they did what they’re supposed to do with them.”
It helped the Indians gather some momentum as they scored in each of the last four innings to eventually reach double-digits themselves. Will Ohman gave up three runs, including two home runs, Tony Pena gave up two runs and Chris Sale allowed two inherited runners to score.
“I think if it was a closer game the bullpen would have done a little bit better than what they did,” Buehrle said.