Butler putting in MVP-quality performances for Cubs

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana didn't even last three innings during Saturday's brutally cold matchup against Atlanta. Quintana gave up 7 hits and 7 runs.

    Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana didn't even last three innings during Saturday's brutally cold matchup against Atlanta. Quintana gave up 7 hits and 7 runs. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/14/2018 7:40 PM

If you're looking for an MVP on the Cubs pitching staff, look no further than reliever Eddie Butler.

The 27-year-old right-hander was iffy to make the roster when spring training started, but he has saved the Cubs' bacon -- and their bullpen -- at least twice this year.

 

In Miami on March 30, he pitched 7 innings of relief in a 17-inning marathon. On Saturday, in brutal weather conditions, he relieved Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the third and wound up working 3⅔ innings as the Cubs rallied for a 14-10 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Don't look now, but Butler is third on the team in innings pitched (14⅔), behind starters Kyle Hendricks (17) and Yu Darvish (15).

"I'm taking a lot of pride in it," Butler said. "I knew coming in I really wasn't going to be a starter, obviously knowing it was going to be the long (relief) role. I tried to embrace it as much as possible, get the guys into the back part of the game and let the back end of the bullpen really take care of it."

How hard was it to pitch Saturday?

"At the end of the outing, I ended up telling Willson (catcher Contreras), 'Just kind of sit down the middle.' I had kind of an idea where the ball was going to go, but you had no real pinpoint control. I ended up just attacking the zone as much as possible and try to let them get themselves out."

Quintana gets bailed out:

After pitching 6 scoreless innings against the Brewers last Sunday, Jose Quintana couldn't make it out of the third inning Saturday, as he gave up 7 hits and 7 runs. He got a no-decision as the Cubs rallied from a 10-2 deficit.

"I think that's lucky," he said. "It's a really special game for us all. Everybody knows a really tough game for me. It's tough for me to bring the bullpen in early in the game."

This and that:

The Cubs overcame an 8-run deficit to win for the first time since July 7, 2011 at Washington. They trailed in that game 8-0 before winning 10-9 … The Cubs scored 9 run in an inning for the first time since July 30, 2012 against Pittsburgh. It was the first time they scored 9 run on 3 or fewer hits in an inning since May 19, 1954 against the Dodgers at Brooklyn … According to STATS, the Cubs are the first team to win by 4 or more runs after trailing by 8 or more since the Blue Jays came back from an 8-run deficit to beat the Reds 14-9 on June 20, 2014.

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