Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 09/19/12

Game One Hundred Forty-Nine: Cubs (58-90) vs. Reds (89-59)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chris Rusin (1-2, 5.06/1.50) vs. Mike Leake (8-9, 4.69/1.36)

The Cubs and Reds square off for the next to last time this season tonight and both teams are focused on goals. The Reds enter play tonight with a magic number of four to clinch the NL Central crown while the Cubs are five wins away from avoiding a 100-loss campaign.

Dale Sveum’s team is a Bryan LaHair pinch-hit RBI double shy of being shutout in back-to-back games. The Cubs have managed only six hits over the last two games, and four of those have come off the bat of Darwin Barney. Barney is riding a career-high 13-game hitting streak, the longest by a Cub this year. Barney is definitely finishing his season on a positive note (.375/.444/.429/.873 in 17 games in September) at the plate.

In other news … The Darwin Barney Gold Glove watch is on with Brandon Phillips spending three days at Wrigley. According to a report from the Sun-Times, Darwin Barney might just win his first gold glove. The Sun-Times took a casual survey of opposing NL managers in recent weeks and four of the five the Sun-Times spoke with said they already cast their votes for Darwin Barney … and the fifth had not voted but suggested he was voting for Barney.

The Cubs have lost 22 consecutive games when scoring three runs or less. The last time the Cubs won a game in which they scored three runs was a 3-2 victory against the Cardinals on July 28.

Tonight all starts with Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin is coming off his first big league victory. Rusin kept the Pirates in check for five innings and left after facing one batter in the sixth in line for his first win. Rusin allowed one run while he was on the mound and ended up being charged with two runs on four hits without a walk and six strikeouts. Rusin’s last start marked the first time he did not walk a batter and he topped his previous high in strikeouts by two.

Chris Rusin has put together three solid five-inning starts and one not-so-good outing in his first four starts of the season. Rusin will face the Reds for the first time tonight and an offense similar to the one that knocked him out of the game after one-plus innings three starts ago. Rusin must pound the zone and stay ahead in the count, if he falls behind it will be a busy night for the Cubs’ bullpen.

No one on the Reds active roster has faced Chris Rusin in a big league ballgame.

Mike Leake rebounded from one of his worst starts of the season against the Phillies and put together a solid outing, and a win, against the Pirates in his last outing. Leake completed seven innings of work for the first time since his eight-inning outing in Houston on July 24. Leake held the Pirates to three runs on nine hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Leake is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 8.68 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP after a posting a decent 3-1 record in six starts in August (4.50 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP).

Like many of the pitchers throughout the league, Leake has fared better outside of the hitter friendly Great American Ball Park. Leake is 4-5 in 16 home starts this season with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP and is 4-4 in 12 road starts with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.

Mike Leake has been extremely inconsistent this season. Leake seemingly has one good start, one excellent start then a clunker. Leake has the stuff to be a successful big league pitcher and has proven that from time-to-time, especially against the Cubs.

Tonight will be Mike Leake’s third start of the year against the Cubs. Leake is 0-1 in the first two with a 6.17 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP … and both of those starts were at Wrigley Field. Leake is 4-2 in nine career starts against the Cubs with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP … at Wrigley, 1-2 in five starts with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Mike Leake

  • Darwin Barney – 7-for-15 with two doubles
  • Tony Campana – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Starlin Castro – 9-for-25 with three doubles, a triple and a walk
  • Steve Clevenger – 2-for-5
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-6 with a double
  • Brett Jackson – 0-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 2-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Joe Mather – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Anthony Rizzo – 2-for-2 with a double and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-16 with a walk
  • Luis Valbuena – 1-for-2 with a walk

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon