Today’s 3-2 Rox loss in Chicago was at least competitive, and I can’t say it was a terrible Eddie Butler outing. Once again, the margin for error was zilch, and a couple Butler mistakes to Dexter and Rizzo left the yard.
The other side is what I want to talk about for a minute. Lester fanned 14, and Rondon came in and finished the job with 2 more. Lester threw 117 pitches, 77 for strikes. Contrary to earlier comments, Lester was averaging 93mph and throwing mostly four-seamers. What is interesting in the numbers is he threw 16 sinkers and didn’t miss with any. Had a rough 4th – and I have to say, Blackmon and Reyes running bothered him immensely. Other than that, he mostly cruised except for the CarGo jack.
Butler threw 82 pitches, 45 strikes. Only 3 walks, but by the 5th he had lost it – velocity was still there at 94mph, only 3 strikes in 11 pitches. Only thing that saved him was Dex getting nabbed on an attempted steal and Bryant GIDP, otherwise that inning gets a lot worse. Innings 1-3 it was mostly fastballs, but in the 4th he shifted to off-speed stuff. Really? Not enough carbs for breakfast, Eddie? How can you possibly not be stretched out at the end of July?
I’m a bit tired of reading how great our guys “stuff” is. Butler. Kahnle. Oberg. Brothers. Yes, even Gray. It’s avoiding the issue – throw strikes. Missing bats is only effective if the stuff is in the zone long enough to look like a strike.
Relievers can get away with stuff for 3 batters. Starters can’t get away with just stuff for 3 or 4 times through the lineup. As much as I’d like Butler to succeed, he is barely making baby steps.
The good news is Blackmon and Reyes are reintroducing the speed game. They might be slowed down by Yadier the next few games, but it could be fun to watch.
We’ll need it because a lot of the power game is now in Toronto. And, the Car Go-no-go dealing with the Mets isn’t over yet. Between the fake Rosenthals and the Tulo “blindsided” trolls on Twitter, I just laugh right now. It could get interesting again tomorrow or Friday.