Buehrle nearing 200-inning plateau once more

Veteran lefty could reach milestone for 14th straight year

Buehrle nearing 200-inning plateau once more

TORONTO -- Mark Buehrle appears to have found a second wind, and that could result in the veteran left-hander hitting the 200-inning plateau for the 14th consecutive year.

Buehrle's streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy after he went through a stretch of five starts with a 7.04 ERA from July 20 to Aug. 10. Since then, he has gone at least six innings in four consecutive starts and has gone at least seven in his past two.

That leaves Buehrle 18 innings shy of 200 with three starts remaining in his season. Even though the milestone is within sight and Buehrle's well aware of the numbers, it's something he's trying to put out of his mind for now.

"If you're starting to worry about personal stats and try to get different numbers, that's when things aren't going to happen," Buehrle said after Tuesday night's 9-2 victory over the Cubs. "I've always said, 200 innings, if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it's not meant to be this year."

Buehrle took another big step forward with an impressive outing vs. Chicago. Even though he didn't have his best stuff, Buehrle battled and allowed two runs on 10 hits over seven effective innings.

The 35-year-old has projected starts remaining against the Orioles, Yankees and Mariners. He's won at least 10 games and recorded at least 200 innings every season since his rookie campaign in 2000, when he pitched most of the year out of the bullpen.

"I'm going out there trying to go deep into games, and if they have to pull me in the fifth inning because I'm getting tired, or I get into a jam and I don't get to 200 innings and we win the game, that's what matters," Buehrle said. "I think [manager John Gibbons] is more worried than I am about getting to 200. It's awesome that he cares about it, but it has to come to an end sometime."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.