Rubbernecking has been the name of game for Cubs relievers Mike Montgomery and Brad Brach over the first half of the season, as they’ve watched many a pitch sail high and deep out of the ballpark. MLB officials have been keeping close tabs on the duo’s respective 5.67 and 5.91 ERA, and on Wednesday named them the designated starters for Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby in Cleveland.
“We know that the fans want to see a spectacle, including batters hitting 500-foot bombs and balls landing in Lake Erie,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “We’re fairly certain that with Monty and Brach on the mound, the crowd will get their money’s worth and more.”
It’s been no secret that Montgomery—who coaxed the final out of the Cubs’ game seven World Series clinching victory at Progressive Field in 2016—has not been happy with his relegated swingman and long-relief role in Chicago.
“Being a starter, let alone an All-Star starter is sort of a dream come true,” said Montgomery, who has given up six home runs in 27 innings so far in 2019. “Maybe the Cubs will finally take notice and give me the shot I deserve.”
If either should fail in their Home Run Derby outings, Pedro Strop is expected to be the first man out of the bullpen.