Game One Hundred Fifty-Nine: Cubs (59-99) vs. Diamondbacks (80-78)
Game Time – 3:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188/914
Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Chris Rusin (1-3, 7.30/1.78) vs. Josh Collmenter (12-12, 3.86/1.27)
It is the last Sunday of the season for the Chicago Cubs. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Cubs must win this afternoon to avoid a 100-loss season. The Cubs are 0-18 on the road against teams in the NL West and will try to avoid being the first team in the history of the game to go winless against an entire division on the road during a single-season. The Cubs took all three from Arizona at Wrigley in July (July 13-July 15) but have loss all five at Chase Field and are 3-5 on the season versus the Diamondbacks.
The Cubs will turn to Chris Rusin to end the current seven-game losing streak. Cubs’ pitching has given up a ton of runs over the last seven games (50) and it will be up to Rusin, in his last start of the season, to keep the Diamondbacks off the board and give the offense a chance. The Cubs have been outscored 50-22 over the last seven games and have not had a lead in a game since last Tuesday in Denver.
In other news … Several of the Cubs’ top prospects participating in the Instructional League were on hand Saturday night at Chase Field. Shawon Dunston Jr., Dan Vogelbach, Albert Almora, Stephen Bruno, Duane Underwood, Paul Blackburn, Corbin Hoffner, Ben Carhart, Carlos Escobar and Dillon Maples hung out with the big league club during batting practice and stayed for the game.
Chris Bosio discussed at the convention last January that the Cubs would reclaim in the inside part of the plate. While the Cubs have struggled with their command all season, the pitching staff has pitched inside all year. The Cubs have hit 64 batters this season, second in the majors to the White Sox (66).
This afternoon all starts with Chris Rusin … After picking up his first big league win against the Pirates on September 14, Chris Rusin has struggled mightily in each of his last two outings. Rusin allowed two runs on four hits without a walk and six strikeouts in five innings to the Pirates but since he has allowed 11 runs on 17 hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings (11.43 ERA and 2.31 WHIP). To say Rusin struggled against the Reds and Rockies would be an understatement.
Chris Rusin has shown the ability to get Major League hitters out but he must pitch ahead in counts and throw quality strikes, two things he has not done in each of his last two outings.
This afternoon is Rusin’s seventh start of the season, four of the first six were on the road, where he has not been very good (0-3 in four road starts with a 7.98 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP).
Regardless of what happens today, Chris Rusin has to be proud of the season he’s put together. The southpaw started the season in the minors (8-9 in 26 games, 25 starts, with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP) and finished it in the Major Leagues.
Chris Rusin faces the Diamondbacks for the first time in a regular season game and no one on Arizona’s roster has faced Rusin in a big league ballgame.
Josh Collmenter has come full circle this season. Collmenter struggled mightily as a starter in April (0-2 in four starts with a 9.82 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP) and was sent to the bullpen. Collmenter was used as the team’s long man and spot starter for all of May and June. Collmenter made four starts in July and put up decent numbers. In five games, four starts, Collmenter was 3-0 in July with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Injuries slowed the right-hander in August but he’s back in the rotation and will make his second consecutive start this afternoon.
Collmenter is coming off a win against the Giants in which he held San Francisco to one run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Collmenter is 2-0 in his last five games, one start, with a 0.82 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP.
One of Josh Collmenter’s spot starts came against the Cubs on June 22. Joe Saunders was a last minute scratch, Collmenter took the hill and tossed four very good innings (one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts) in a 6-1 D-Backs win. For his career, Collmenter has no record in two appearances, one start, against the Cubs (1.42 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP).
Cubs Career Numbers against Josh Collmenter
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
- David DeJesus – 1-for-1 with a walk
- Joe Mather – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-4 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO