Chicago Cubs' Maddon not sold on changes to make extra-inning games shorter

MIAMI - Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn't sound in favor of some of the radical changes that have been talked about to end extra-inning games more quickly.

The Cubs lost 2-1 to the Miami Marlins in 17 innings Friday night and had to use pitcher Eddie Butler for 7 innings of relief.

Some extra-innings changes that have been talked about include beginning an inning with a runner on second base.

"I don't know," Maddon said Saturday. "I still like the least amount of change to our game as possible even to the point where my thought is if we want to do something differently, maybe after a team plays 12 innings that they get an extra pitcher for the next two days. Just give you an extra guy for two days. That's all your looking for, just one lengthy guy in a bad situation. As opposed to radical surgery, maybe some arthroscopic surgery, just permitting one player to come in for two days.

"That might be the least obtrusive way, something like that, as opposed to changing the entire method of the game that has been going on for many years. That's how the records have been kept."

The biggest fear of any manager in these kinds of games is depleting the relief corps. Maddon tried to keep it in perspective.

"I've always been purist with all of this," he said. "As a manager, when you're sitting in the situation with a beat-up bullpen, it's no fun. But I also believe that's the anomaly game. I think it's part of the grind of the season. It's part of testimony to the depth of your team. I know there's going to be conversation after this."

About Friday night:

Eddie Butler became the first Cubs reliever to pitch at least 7 innings and surrender no more than 4 hits and 1 run since Ray Burris on Sept. 23, 1973 at Philadelphia. Burris worked 7 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits, in a 9-7 loss. Butler is the first Cubs reliever to go at least 7 since Scott Sanderson went 8 on Aug. 6, 1989 at Pittsburgh in a 5-4, 18-inning defeat.

Friday was just the fourth game in the last 100 years in which Cubs pitching worked at least 16⅔ innings without surrendering an extra-base hit, and the first time since tossing 17 innings, Aug. 11, 1992, against Montreal (a 3-2, 17-inning loss). Before that, it hadn't happened since Oct. 1, 1920 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 3-2, 17-inning win.

He said it:

Cubs batters struck out 20 times Friday night.

"There was 20 strikeouts in a doubleheader yesterday," Joe Maddon said. "That's like 10 per game, and that's pretty much our average. I thought about that last night. We also hit some balls really good. We hit the ball well, actually, yesterday with no luck whatsoever, and that happens. The strikeouts is part of our DNA. I still believe we're going to cut back on that. If it was 20 after nine (innings), I'd be much more concerned. I still want to see the ball moved more often, yes."

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