NEW YORK -- At the time when Mark Buehrle was retiring all 27 Tampa Bay hitters he faced on July 23, 2009, at U.S. Cellular Field, he didn't realize that the 18th perfect game thrown in Major League Baseball history would be used as a barometer for the left-hander's future performances.
For example, since that perfect game effort, Buehrle has a 4-10 record with a 6.72 ERA, having allowed 59 earned runs in 79 innings pitched over 18 starts. Yet, Buehrle doesn't feel any different than when he was making history on the mound or amassing a career record of 37 games over .500. That good feeling especially holds true in 2010, despite Buehrle taking a 2-3 record and 4.68 ERA into Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium.
"This game is a lot of luck," Buehrle said. "Look at how I'm still sitting at 4.68 or 4.70 [ERA in 2010] and it blows my mind. I feel like I've thrown the ball way better than what the numbers show.
"They are what they are obviously. In that Tampa game [on April 21, 2010], I was making pitches and they were blooping in singles. It don't show up in the linescore. It looks like I got my butt handed to me. But it definitely feels like I've thrown a lot better than having a 4.60, I'll tell you that."
After the perfect game in 2009, Buehrle picked up only two victories in the season's final two months. Buehrle made another four quality starts in which he didn't get the win during that stretch, pointing up that luck factor he previously addressed.
"Since that perfect game, I've had good and bad ones," Buehrle said. "But I feel like I've thrown the ball about the same.
"I'm going to have games where I get it handed to me, and I'll have games where I go out there and deal. I want to win every game and go deep in every game. All you can do is give your team a chance to win on the mound."