Mark Buehrle and Cliff Lee are no longer in the prime of their careers, though the 35-year-old veterans are showing they have plenty of good days ahead.
Both look to continue their solid starts to the season when Buehrle's Toronto Blue Jays face Lee's Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night as this four-game series shifts north of the border.
Buehrle made a name for himself with the Chicago White Sox from 2000-11, tossing a no-hitter and a perfect game before signing as a free agent with Miami. His 191 career wins are second to CC Sabathia (208) among active left-handers, while Lee is third with 142.
Now in his second season with Toronto, Buehrle (5-1, 2.25 ERA) is proving he still has a lot left in the tank. He posted a 0.64 ERA while winning his first four starts, and he bounced back from a tough outing to give up three runs - two earned - in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 win over Kansas City on Thursday.
"(Buehrle) pitches to win," manager John Gibbons said. "He's going to do whatever it takes, and he's on a nice little roll. He's having a good year for us."
The quick-working Buehrle allowed seven runs and 12 hits in an 8-1 loss to Boston in his previous start April 25. Both walks he issued against the Royals scored, and he has allowed eight walks over his last three starts after surrendering two in his first three.
"I'd rather give up 10 hits and no walks. I hate it. Make them earn it," he said.
Buehrle faced the Phillies five times in 2012 while with the Marlins, going 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA. He dueled with Lee in his last outing against them Sept. 28 of that season, giving up one run in eight innings while Lee allowed a run in seven frames in a 2-1 Philadelphia loss.
Lee (3-2, 3.00) also is having a solid start to 2014, posting a 1.67 ERA after giving up eight runs in his first outing. He allowed two runs - one earned - and four hits in seven innings of Philadelphia's 5-3 loss to Washington on Friday.
He was denied the win after the bullpen allowed three runs in the eighth.
"It was just one of those days where they got their hits, they earned it," said Lee, who has a 2.89 ERA for four different teams since 2008 when he won the Cy Young Award with Cleveland. "Those things happen in this game."
Lee is 2-4 with a 4.85 ERA in seven career starts in Toronto, most recently allowing five runs and a career worst-tying 12 hits in the Blue Jays' 6-5 win over the Phillies on June 16, 2012.
He'll face a Toronto team that has won six straight meetings after Juan Francisco's 10th-inning sacrifice fly gave it a 6-5 victory Tuesday. The Blue Jays (16-17) secured their first three-game winning streak by taking both games of this series in Philadelphia in the home-and-home format.
Jose Batista went 3 for 4 and has reached base in 33 straight games for the longest streak in the majors since Cincinnati's Joey Votto also reached in that many in 2011.
The Phillies (15-16) rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie it on Cody Asche's grand slam in the sixth inning before falling for the fourth time in six games.
Jimmy Rollins didn't start for the second straight contest due to a groin injury and grounded out as a pinch-hitter. His status for this contest is unclear.