Montgomery Was Fine, Contreras Was Safe, Duensing Was Bad, Morrow Threw, and Other Bullets

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Montgomery Was Fine, Contreras Was Safe, Duensing Was Bad, Morrow Threw, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Tattoo update: it seems pretty much totally healed and fine and normal at this point, though it itches like a beast, and I don’t think I’m supposed to scratch it.

  • Mike Montgomery was fine last night, even as his outing was artificially shortened by a quick hook. He has become an extreme pitch-to-contact guy as a starter, and, since he historically gets a ton of groundballs and a ton of soft contact, that’s a fine recipe for a 4th/5th starter, so long as he isn’t walking anyone. When you put that many balls in play, you’re gonna give up some cheap hits – he did last night, for sure – but with a good defense behind you, it can work. It worked last night.
  • As for when Montgomery was pulled, like I said, I don’t have a beef with it. A high-contact guy going the third time through the order and about to face a string of righties with the tying run on base? I’m totally fine with going with Jesse Chavez there in the 6th. It just didn’t work out this time for Chavez, who has otherwise been brilliant with the Cubs. Sometimes the batter wins.
  • What I did *NOT* like was the decision to let Montgomery hit for himself in the bottom of the 5th, tied at 0, and runners on first and third. There was one out in the inning, and the Cubs had not been able to do bupkis against Robbie Erlin. That was an opportunity to score more than one run, and by batting Montgomery there, it was played like the Cubs were trying to get only one run. To do that knowing that Montgomery could very well be pulled next inning anyway … that felt like a gaffe in the moment, and then it proved to be one just a half inning later.
  • Meanwhile, Brian Duensing was tasked with keeping the game close to give the Cubs a chance late, and he failed to do so. As much as Duensing was a revelation in 2017, he’s been a disaster this year. Since starting the season with a scoreless streak (with dodgy peripherals, through May 12), Duensing has thrown 22.1 innings of 11.28 ERA baseball with absolutely nothing underlying the results to suggest they have not been earned. I understand that he was good last year. I understand that there aren’t many lefties available. I understand that he’s signed through next year at another $3.5 million. But he cannot continue to appear in even remotely close games right now for the Cubs, and his presence in the bullpen feels like the Cubs are pitching a man short. I don’t know if there’s a health issue to turn to, but if the Cubs can’t DL him, then they need to confront a difficult decision.
  • The reality is that Duensing, mathematically, cannot survive in the Cubs’ bullpen anyway (without a new injury or two) if Brandon Morrow or Anthony Bass is ready to return from injury this month. Neither appears to be super close to returning, but this decision is coming whether the Cubs want to make it now or not.
  • At least Willson Contreras’s swim move slide at home last night was cool:

  • Willson was stoked. Also, new sleeve:
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • Also, this may cheer you up a bit:

  • Brandon Morrow played catch yesterday for the first time since going on the DL with his biceps issue, but he was quick to say that it wasn’t the start of a throwing program yet (Sun-Times). He was just seeing how it would feel. If he feels OK this morning, he’ll play catch again today, and through the weekend, and then maybe – I’m hoping – we start hearing about him getting back on the mound at some point next week.
  • Did the 2018 team come for the haircut:

Author: Brett Taylor

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