The Chicago Cubs made some tweaks to their bullpen personnel on Friday, announcing that they have placed right-hander Eddie Butler on the 10-day DL with a right groin strain.
Butler was the hero of the team’s 17-inning marathon game against the Miami Marlins on March 30, outpacing the starter, Kyle Hendricks, by throwing 90 pitches over 7 innings of work. In that game he tallied five strikeouts to just one walk, and ended up being charged with the loss after Brandon Morrow allowed the game-winning hit to the first batter he faced.
Since that game Butler has still pitched very well, although his outing on Thursday was less than stellar. In that game he faced just four batters as he allowed four runs to score (three of them were earned) on two walks and two hits, all while he failed to record an out. That outing ballooned his ERA to a 4.30 mark, but aside from that rough showing he has been solid to start the year.
To fill his spot on the roster the Cubs have recalled right-hander Luke Farrell from Triple-A Iowa. He has made two starts for the I-Cubs this year, and has allowed 7 earned runs in 10.2 innings. His other peripheral numbers haven’t been the best, having allowed a 1.500 WHIP and 11.0 H/9, but he has at least done it while throwing strikes as evidenced by his solid 3.67 K/BB rate.
Overall in his professional career he has put up respectable numbers, tallying a 4.44 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and a 2.41 K/BB rate in 544.2 innings across all levels. His biggest downfall is that he allows a lot of contact up in the air (52.5% over his entire career), and in this generation of launch angles and heavy emphasis on hitting homeruns that can be a recipe for disaster.
Since he has spent most of his professional career pitching as a starting pitcher, Farrell will likely be expected to step in and fill Butler’s role as a long-reliever capable of providing at least two innings of work at a time. He is reportedly available for tonight’s game against the Colorado Rockies, which kicks off a three-game weekend series in Denver.
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