Motte racking up wins out of the bullpen
Right-hander leads Majors with eight victories in relief
CHICAGO -- You wouldn't blame Jason Motte for savoring his 8-1 record after picking up the win against the Braves, or for giving his teammates in the rotation a hard time. After all, he leads the Majors in relief victories.
His teammate, starter Kyle Hendricks, noted Motte was "yelling about it" on Friday, but that isn't accurate, the reliever says. Because whenever he comes in and whatever his record is, Motte hasn't changed his approach on the mound.
"As a reliever, that [record] doesn't really matter," he said. "It's cool, but I'm not going to run around and celebrate. It's not me."
Still, his feat is one to be recognized, given that his eight victories are the most by a Cubs reliever since Jeff Samardzija did so in 2011. And with one more victory, he would become the first Cubs reliever with nine since Lee Smith did so in 1986.
Motte picked up the win after a clean sixth inning in which Chicago rallied with two go-ahead runs in the bottom half. The eighth win is a career high for the six-year veteran, whose previous high was five with the Cardinals during the 2011 season.
Some people are quick to call them vultures -- relievers who come in and earn the win after a starter has finished his outing -- but Motte isn't concerned about that either.
"It is what it is. If it means we win, that's all that matters," Motte said. "We have guys here that have gone out there and done their job, and that's what it's about."
This year, Motte has been able to pick up more wins in a different role. As opposed to 2012, when Motte picked up 42 saves, he has been utilized as a setup man in manager Joe Maddon's bullpen, pitching based off the situation. In his new role, Motte has been the spark for a Cubs bullpen that has posted one of its strongest seasons.
Among the Cubs' current relievers, only one has gone without a save this year while picking up a combined 24 wins in relief. Chicago's bullpen has thrown four or more scoreless innings in a game 16 times.
Motte isn't one to hype that up, either.
"It doesn't matter what your role is, when you're called upon, it's about going out and doing your job. We have guys with really good stuff in here.
"You don't go out there thinking, 'I need to get these guys out so guys behind me [succeed].' You go out there and your job is to get the guy at the plate out."