The longtime pitcher for the White Sox returns to the city to face the Cubs as a member of the Marlins, facing off against fellow left-hander Paul Maholm in the final game of the three-game series.
Having pitched for the crosstown rivals for more than a decade, Buehrle is unsure what the reaction will be like from the Wrigley Field fans.
"No idea. I'm sure with boos," Buehrle said. "I wouldn't see any reason for them to cheer me, being on the opposite side the whole time. I guess before it was half and half, because there'd be some Sox fans cheering me on. I have no clue."
Buehrle's mastery on the mound has followed him from Chicago to Miami, where he has gone 9-8 with a 3.13 ERA. He has won four consecutive starts since June 24, and has pitched at least seven innings and struck out at least seven batters in that span, turning in a 0.94 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.
"He's a great fielder, he doesn't walk anybody," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "You put that combination together with a guy who can cut the ball in on your hands, can pitch down and away, has a good changeup, can flip in a slower curveball, and he throws them all for strikes, it just makes for a guy who is going to be successful on a consistent basis. He doesn't hurt himself, he keeps the ball down, gets quick outs. He's just a great athlete. those are the combinations that make guys good and consistent."
Maholm heads to the mound for the Cubs looking to build on a current four-outing span (three starts) in which he has surrendered two runs in 22 1/3 innings. In his last outing last Friday, the southpaw allowed one run in seven innings against the D-backs to pick up his third consecutive win.
"I made some good pitches, got the ground balls or easier popups, and the defense made some great plays," Maholm said after his last outing. "For me, it's getting ahead, keeping the ball down and mixing speeds and not trying to do a whole lot."
Buehrle held Chicago to one run in eight innings back on April 18, but the turnover in the Cubs' roster since then has Buehrle barely recognizing the lineup.
"I don't know what it is yet," Buehrle said Wednesday of the Cubs' lineup for Thursday. "I don't know who's going to be in there. I faced them earlier in the season, but to be honest with you, I was out there stretching yesterday looking around like, 'Who are half these young guys out there?'"
Buehle pitched seven times at Wrigley Field as a member of the Chicago White Sox, compiling a 3-2 record and 4.80 ERA, though the atmosphere for this Marlins-Cubs series has been a bit different than for the crosstown Interleague games he has grown accustomed to.
"It's a lot different than what it was with the Cubs-Sox, I can tell you that," Buehrle said. "Just last night in the eighth inning, I felt like I was in a backyard beer league softball game with how quiet it was here. I've never seen it like that."
Marlins: Reyes looking to get going
A frustrated Jose Reyes is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak, but is only 6-for-23 (.261) in that span.
The reigning National League batting champion is batting .264 this year, considerably lower than his .337 average last year with the Mets.
"It's been frustrating a little bit," Reyes said. "I haven't played this way in a while. I'd like to be more consistent in more ways, and make things happen for this team.
Cubs: Castro making adjustments during tough stretch
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro hit his eighth home run of the season on Wednesday, but has been mired in a 4-for-20 stretch in his last five games.
"[Castro] is a guy who is going to be as good as he wants to be, and adjustments are still part of his game, as well," Sveum said Wednesday. "Sometimes you have kids like that, and they may never have gone through any adversity on the offensive part. Sometimes guys learn how to pitch to you, so you have to make those adjustments, or you have to make adjustments in your hitting style to get better and not be content with being OK with a .720 OPS or whatever it is. Adjustments are how you do that sometimes."
In his last 12 games, the All-Star shortstop has batted .204 (10-for-49).
Minor League pitchers Juancito De La Cruz and Antonio Encarnacion were suspended for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program on Wednesday, with both receiving a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
Since June 25, the Cubs own the best record in baseball with a 13-5 mark.
The Cubs beat the Marlins for the first time in 2012 on Wednesday, with Miami winning the four previous games between the clubs.