Butler confirms Rockies' excitement in '15 debut
Pitching prospect shows off potential with 5 2/3 strong innings vs. Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies' Eddie Butler displayed enough of the power arm Wednesday night to make the effort to work through his youthful imperfections worthwhile.
Butler, 24, held the Brewers to two runs -- both on an Adam Lind two-run homer that followed a two-out walk in the third inning -- in 5 2/3 innings of the Rockies' 5-4, 10-inning victory at Miller Park Wednesday.
Last year, Butler battled shoulder issues and made just three Major League starts (1-1, 6.75 ERA), but regained his power during the offseason and impressed the Rockies in Spring Training. However, it wasn't clear what to expect Wednesday.
Because of a bout with shoulder fatigue -- which had mostly to do with Butler fearing a return of last year's problems -- he entered Wednesday having thrown all of 29 pitches in the last two weeks. But he held the Brewers to four hits, struck out five, and mostly pitched around four walks. Trailing 2-1 in the sixth, he extracted a Khris Davis double-play grounder on his final pitch.
"I would have liked to have made some more quality pitches early, not been behind so much, and gotten through six or seven innings," said Butler, who issued three leadoff walks that drove up his final pitch count to 89. "At least I was able to make some good pitches when I needed to. I want to be able to make those same pitches when there aren't runners on base in scoring position."
But with a consistent mid-90s mph fastball that he could sink -- as two double plays and six groundball outs can attest -- Butler confirmed manager Walt Weiss' excitement.
"His sinker was real good, got a lot of ground balls," Weiss said. "Guys were hitting the top of the ball all night, except for Lind [who homered, doubled and walked] -- Lind is locked in right now. I thought Eddie did an outstanding job, exactly what we'd hoped he would do."