SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Mike Montgomery, who is starting this afternoon’s game, likely won’t be making all that many starts this year, working primarily as a long reliever.
Whatever role he fills, though, his command and control could be improved this year thanks to Cubs run prevention coordinator Tommy Hottovy:
Hottovy, 36, who pitched for the Red Sox and Royals in 2011-12, saw on video that Montgomery’s stride was longer and his arm angle lower in 2017 than it was in 2016 — his breakthrough season that motivated the Cubs to acquire him from the Mariners.
Montgomery has noticed that by taking a shorter stride, he’s able to stay vertical through an overhand delivery and put a sharper break on his curve and his other pitches.
“I was told my stride was longer on certain pitches, especially the curve,” Montgomery said. “I need that pitch sharp to get more swings and misses. That’s the age of baseball we’re getting into. I’ve been able to apply it this spring.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot when playing catch, and it has transitioned when I’ve been throwing my bullpens. I’ll continue to get stretched out and see how it shakes out while going through the normal soreness of spring training.”
This is the sort of attention to detail that the staff of the Cubs organization does extremely well. It’s helped others improve their games. I hope it does the same for Montgomery, who definitely has the talent and drive to succeed.
Here are today’s particulars.
Almora CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Freeman SS, Gimenez DH, Bourjos RF, Bote 2B, Court LF
Margot CF, Headley 3B, Myers RF, Hosmer 1B, Pirela LF, Renfroe DH, Galvis SS, Hedges C, Asuaje 2B
As noted above, Mike Montgomery will start for the Cubs. Also on the Cubs pitching list for this game: Rob Zastryzny, Dario Alvarez and Jen-Ho Tseng.
Jordan Lyles gets the call for the Padres. Among Padres relievers today: Matt Strahm and Kazuhisa Makita.
The Cubs are a split squad today. The other split squad will face the Giants at Sloan Park tonight, game time 9:05 p.m. CT. There will be a separate preview and series of game threads for that game later today, and a recap of both games tomorrow morning. I won’t be at this game, but I will be at the night game at Sloan Park.
This afternoon’s game is on cubs.com with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. TV coverage today is via Fox Sports San Diego with the Padres announcers. The Padres TV broadcast will be carried live on MLB Network, including the Chicago market.
Please note that during spring training, Gameday doesn't usually go pitch-by-pitch as it does during the regular season -- usually, it will update after each at-bat.
Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball. If you do go there to interact with Padres fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
For spring-training games, we'll have a first-pitch thread at five minutes to game time and one overflow thread, 90 minutes after game time (because I know how you all like overflow threads!). For today, that will be 3 p.m. CT and 4:30 p.m. CT.
These threads will not post individually onto the front page; instead, you can find links to them in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page. There will also be a StoryStream on the front page with all the game thread links, as well as the recap after the game is over. The pitcher boxes and regular-season stats will return on Opening Day.
Discuss amongst yourselves.