CHICAGO – 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.
On March 30 in Miami he pitched seven 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 (catcher) Willson (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 bailed out: After pitching six scoreless innings against the Brewers on Sunday, Jose Quintana couldn't make it out of the third inning Saturday, as he gave up seven hits and seven 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 eight-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 nine runs in an inning for the first time since July 30, 2012, against Pittsburgh. It was the first time they scored nine runs on three 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 four or more runs after trailing by eight or more since the Blue Jays came back from an eight-run deficit to beat the Reds, 14-9, on June 20, 2014.