The White Sox begin a weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Guaranteed Rate Field. Both teams are entering the series with records below .500.
According to the Blue Jays website on MLB.com, most of their pitching rotation is on the DL. This leaves only three regular starters including Stroman, Sam Gaviglio, and Ryan Borucki. That third starter, Borucki, is the one who has been compared to a young Mark Buehrle. And, he might get to start against his favorite team on Sunday at his favorite ballpark on the South Side of Chicago.
Growing up a Sox fan
Borucki is a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher from Mundelein High School. The Blue Jays drafted him in 2012 and he made his MLB debut on June 26 of this year against the Astros. He has also pitched against the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, and Tigers. Despite facing some of the best offenses in the game, Borucki has an impressive ERA of 2.79.
But, that’s not what makes this kid worthy of being discussed on a site dedicated to White Sox fans.
This is: Borucki loves the White Sox and his favorite player is Mark Buehrle. He loves Buehrle so much that he even wears #56. So, if Borucki gets to pitch at Guaranteed Rate Field, it will be quite an event for him.
Inspiring a young pitcher
In a radio conversation on MLB Network Radio, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that there are some similarities between the two pitchers. But, it’s not their size. Buehrle was a big guy at 6’2 and 240 pounds. Borucki is tall and lanky at 6’4 and 175 pounds (Chris Sale is 6’6, 180 pounds).
Where they are similar is in the way that they speed through games. In an article by John Lott with The Athletic, Borucki was quoted as saying about Buehrle:
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"“For some reason, I swear, every time I went to a White Sox game, he was pitching. I hated it because I’d want to be at the game for three or four hours and he’d get done in like two hours. I’d say, ‘Dad, can we get a game without Buehrle pitching?’”"
Borucki does work quickly. In his debut, the game lasted 2:42. His other games lasted 2:44, 2:51, 3:43, and 2:30. According to Baseball Reference, in 2018, the average baseball game is 3:05. Borucki’s only long game was against the Red Sox where he pitched three innings and gave up seven runs. But, the Jays did end up winning 13-7. When Borucki goes six or more innings, he keeps the games quick, just like Buehrle did.
Their rookie season numbers are close. In 2000, Buehrle finished with an ERA of 4.21 and a WHIP of 1.442 in 51.1 innings. To date, Borucki has 29 innings under his belt with an ERA of 2.79 and a WHIP of 1.482.
If he does get to pitch against his favorite team, fans might get to see some that Buehrle inspiration. Of course, the game is different than when Buehrle enjoyed a World Series win in 2005, but watch Borucki’s pitching style, changeup, and attitude on the mound. It might bring a few fans back.