Butler the Would-Be Hero, Montgomery the True Reliever, Lost in the Moment, and Other Bullets

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Butler the Would-Be Hero, Montgomery the True Reliever, Lost in the Moment, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

After a few hours of uncomfortable car sleep after taking the night shift on our drive home (I took over after the 12th inning – sorry the game didn’t end before that, The Wife), I’m going to offer you up these Bullets from the road. My brain isn’t entirely there, so bear with me …

  • How about Eddie Butler last night, man? Sure, the Marlins’ pitchers were doing it to a much better Cubs lineup, but coming out of the bullpen to throw (essentially) seven scoreless innings? That’s ridiculous any way you slice it, and was actually an even better outing than when Butler made his debut with the Cubs against the Cardinals in St. Louis (remember that one?). The bullpen is still pretty used up for today’s game, but consider how destroyed it would be if Butler had gone only two innings. At least now the Cubs have reasonable options. Such an impressive outing for Butler, especially given that it’s not like he was able to prep like he was going to throw a starter’s worth of pitches (Butler threw 90 pitches, two more than starter Kyle Hendricks). Too bad the Cubs lost, or Butler’s effort would be even more fondly remembered.
  • Now, though, we’ll see what the Cubs opt to do in terms of his recovery. They cannot option him to Iowa (out of minor league options), and he probably wouldn’t clear waivers if the Cubs decided to put him on waivers to try to outright him to Iowa. So the choice for the next few days: play shorthanded (since Butler can’t go) and keep Butler, or get a pitcher up and lose Butler. To me, it’s a pretty easy choice at this point in the year – you hang onto him – unless Butler, you know, tweaked his pinkie just a little bit and needs a quick stop on the 10-day DL. I’m just saying. The Dodgers would do it …
  • I found it interesting that Mike Montgomery came into the game as a traditional, one-inning reliever for the second straight day, while Butler was held in reserve to be the multi-inning guy. Last year, that guy was Montgomery every time in a game like that. I think it’s further confirmation that Montgomery will be used like a traditional reliever this year until and unless an extended opening appears in the rotation, and Butler – if he sticks around for a long period of time – will be the guy expected to more fungibly bounce between spot starts, multi-inning appearances, mop-up jobs, and traditional appearances.
(Photos by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • In any case, here’s hoping Yu Darvish – WHO MAKES HIS CUBS DEBUT TONIGHT! – can go at least six effective innings. Please don’t let that first inning thing (he often gives up lots of hits and runs in the first inning, and is not as efficient as he is as the game goes on) happen tonight.
  • Offensively, the story was pretty simple last night: too many whiffs. Joe Maddon attributed it the team trying to do too much, which is pretty disappointing for an experienced offense like this. Young guys aplenty? Yes. But they’ve got enough experience not to let the “moment” of a marathon, want-to-just-end-this-thing-now game get to them.

  • I’m not happy about it, but I also know that we see games like that every year from every team, whatever their constitution. So, you know, we’ll see if it persists as a “thing.” For today, I’m just annoyed about it, as it yielded a game the Cubs totally should not have lost. But that, too, happens.
  • It’s a short tweet, but it sums things up nicely about what we really liked to see from Ben Zobrist last night:

  • Last year, thanks in large part to his wrist injury no doubt, Zobrist hit just .179/.261/.292 as a righty last year, with a groundball rate near 53% and a hard contact rate under 30%.
  • Kyle knew what was to come:

  • Good man, Anthony Rizzo:

  • The Marlins announced attendance last night of barely 12,000 … which … for a Friday night game, the second game of the year, against the Cubs … yikes. Apparently the shockingly low number is partly because the Marlins were fudging their attendance in the past, and won’t be doing that anymore. As it turns out, 12,000 probably isn’t too bad a night for them in recent years. Again, yikes. They will sell 18 tickets for a Tuesday afternoon game against the Reds.
  • Hey, LOL at the strike zone map from last night. Cubs pitchers got screwed like crazy (and/or Cubs catchers were incredibly poor at framing … ), as the disparity in missed strikes for them was over the top. HOWEVER, the Cubs didn’t lose because their pitchers were giving up a ton of ill-gotten runs. Instead, the offense was the problem. So I just chuckle at the strike zone.
  • Mike Montgomery does some interesting things when he warms up:

  • The Cardinals won’t have top young arm Alex Reyes back until the end of May now, making the Greg Holland signing all the more important:

  • The Onion does what it does:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.