Eddie Butler will take the mound for the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night as they continue a three-game road series against the San Diego Padres.
For Butler, it will mark his first start for the Rockies since August 13. He gave up six runs in four innings against the New York Mets, capping a nightmarish 2015 season. Butler finished last year with a 3-10 mark and 5.90 ERA. He also walked 42 batters in 79.1 innings of work.
Butler was called up on April 27 when Jorge De La Rosa was placed on the 15-day disabled list. That night, he pitched 2.1 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing a run on two hits. Perhaps more importantly, Butler struck out four in his time on the mound, showing Colorado manager Walt Weiss a very important trait.
“The short outing we saw the other day out of the pen, he was throwing strikes again,” Weiss said. “That was his track record in the minor leagues. He has always been a strike thrower and it kind of got away from him last year. He’s pitched in a lot of tough counts, deep counts. I think he has a better feel for his slider than he did a year ago so I think that’s going to be a good pitch moving forward for him. The ability to throw strikes with his two-seamer and using his slider effectively will make a difference for him.”
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Weiss said the importance of throwing strikes can’t be undervalued, whether it’s Butler or any of the other Rockies hurlers on the mound.
“If you’re throwing strikes, you’re forcing swings. That’s the key, regardless of who you’re playing against,” Weiss said. “If guys want to be patient and you’re throwing strikes, you get them in bad counts. Nothing changes as far as our message to our pitchers. It’s attacking the strike zone and staying aggressive and forcing them to swing the bat.”
Eddie Butler will come out against the Padres on Tuesday night with his sinker as well as a slider he seems to be gaining more and more confidence in with each outing.
“It looks to me as if he has a better feel for both of those pitches,” Weiss said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him make a start.”