'Topes pitcher Butler loses focus after great start - Albuquerque Journal

‘Topes pitcher Butler loses focus after great start

Albuquerque's Eddie Butler pitches against the Nashville Sounds during Thursday's matinee at Isotopes Park. (Dean Hanson/Journal)
Albuquerque’s Eddie Butler pitches against the Nashville Sounds during Thursday’s matinee at Isotopes Park.
(Dean Hanson/Journal)

Eddie Butler’s first five innings Thursday could not have been much better.

His sixth frame could hardly have been worse.

Butler, a starting pitcher for the Albuquerque Isotopes, got off to a superb start in a matinee outing against visiting Nashville. Butler mowed down Sounds hitters at a crazy rate and did not allow a hit through 51/3 innings. The Topes had a 1-0 lead.

By the time Albuquerque came to bat in the bottom of the sixth, Butler was in the showers, Nashville led 7-1 and the Sounds were on their way to a series-evening 8-4 win.

What caused the wheels to suddenly come off?

“Eddie Butler caused the wheels to come off,” Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill said. “As soon as he gave up a hit, emotionally he lost his edge. That should not happen and he’s going to have to revisit that.”

There was certainly no way to see the sudden reversal coming as Butler was nothing short of dominant through the first five innings. The right-hander retired the Sounds in order four times and permitted only a one-out walk to Jaycob Brugman in the fourth.

With only 53 pitches under his belt through five frames, Butler looked every bit the candidate for a deep outing. When he retired Tyler Ladendorf on a routine ground ball to start the sixth, Butler equaled the third-longest no-hit start in Isotopes history.

“His pitch count was extremely low, and he was getting a lot of weak contact,” Hill said. “It was off the charts.”

Nashville's Chad Pinder fires the ball to first to complete the double play after forcing out Isotope Jordan Patterson at second. Joey Wendle (13) is at right. (Dean Hanson/Journal)
Nashville’s Chad Pinder fires the ball to first to complete the double play after forcing out Isotope Jordan Patterson at second. Joey Wendle (13) is at right.
(Dean Hanson/Journal)

Everything changed when Nashville’s No. 9 hitter, Bryan Anderson, stepped up and lined Butler’s first pitch to right-center for a double. Billy Burns then walked on four pitches.

Nashville’s next five batters collected three RBI singles, a line-drive out to center and a two-run triple by Joey Wendle. The Sounds led 5-1 when Hill trudged to the mound to take the ball from Butler. It was 7-1 after the next batter, Matt Olson, clubbed a two-run homer off reliever Brian Schlitter.

Despite his outstanding start, Butler (4-1) ended up allowing six earned runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout in 52/3 innings. Six of the last seven hitters he faced scored.

“He got distraught after that first hit and lost his focus,” Hill said. “When an offense is struggling they’ll feed off that first hit. A pitcher has to know that and manage his emotions. Eddie didn’t do that, and I hope it’s a lesson for him. It’s disheartening to see a great outing fall apart so fast.”

Nashville had eight hits in the contest, six of them coming in the sixth inning. The Isotopes had seven hits but were unable to sustain a significant rally. Dustin Garneau and Jordan Patterson blasted back-to-back solo homers in the seventh to trim the deficit to 7-3 but the ‘Topes would get no closer.

Hill said he does not want Butler to simply put Thursday’s hot-and-cold outing behind him. The right-hander, who has appeared in 12 games with the Colorado Rockies in 2016 and has shuttled between Denver and Albuquerque numerous times the past two seasons, needs to learn from it, Hill said.

“I want him to take a hard look at this one,” Hill said. “You saw how good he can be today. If he can take a lesson from this, it could really be to everyone’s benefit.”

STREAK CONTINUES: Thursday was also a good-news, bad-news day for outfielder David Dahl. Dahl’s third-inning single extended his hitting streak to 14 games, longest by an Isotope this season. However, he also struck out three times to finish 1-for-4, as his batting average dipped under .500 (.491) for the first time since he was promoted to Triple-A on July 4.

SHADES REQUIRED: Thursday was the final midday home start of the season at Isotopes Park and many of the announced 5,424 fans sought shade in the sizzling conditions. Players had to shade their eyes and struggled to catch several high fly balls, but the stadium lights were inexplicably on throughout the contest.

d01_jd_22july_topestoday

Home » Sports » Pro » Isotopes » ‘Topes pitcher Butler loses focus after great start


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Rio Communities to get new housing development
ABQnews Seeker
A new housing development is coming ... A new housing development is coming to Rio Communities, the first of its kind since the town was inc ...
2
New grocery store approved near Rust Medical Center
ABQnews Seeker
The Rio Rancho Governing Board at ... The Rio Rancho Governing Board at its June 23 meeting approved site plans for Albertsons Market Street @ The Village near the new Presbyterian ...
3
Primary results certified as November election looms
From the newspaper
Just over 25% of eligible New ... Just over 25% of eligible New Mexico voters cast ballots in the June 7 election
4
Isotopes continue homer trend in grand fashion
Featured Sports
The Isotopes have hit a PCL-leading ... The Isotopes have hit a PCL-leading 112 homers this season, but also allowed a Triple-A high 130 long balls.
5
Editorial: Try a staycation to help New Mexico's fire-ravaged ...
Editorials
New Mexicans are not far removed ... New Mexicans are not far removed from making conscious financial choices to help neighbors in a time ...
6
Rockets away in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
Teams from around the globe gather ... Teams from around the globe gather to compete in the Spaceport America Cup
7
One of ABQ’s newest speed cameras stolen off its ...
ABQnews Seeker
Just over two weeks after the ... Just over two weeks after the city's mobile speed enforcement device on Lead at Cornell started issuing tickets, vandals removed the camera box
8
Bloomfield boy overcomes traumatic eye injury
From the newspaper
A day of playing in the ... A day of playing in the backyard resulted into severe eye trauma for a New Mexico boy. ...
9
Keeping an eye on child obesity
From the newspaper
In the last column we discussed ... In the last column we discussed what is BMI and how is it calculated. We also discussed that the ran ...