Rusin Dazzles the Dodgers – Cubs 8, Dodgers 1

Spring Training Game Nineteen – Cubs 8, Dodgers 1

WP – Chris Rusin (2-0) LP – Chris Capuano (0-1) Save – None

wflag-pubChris Rusin has quietly put together a very good spring and in the process has put himself in the mix to break camp as the second lefty in the Cubs’ pen. Rusin continued his domination in the Cactus League with five innings of shutout ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday afternoon. Rusin faced a majority of the Dodgers’ everyday lineup, including Andre Either, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez and allowed just two baserunners in his second start of the spring. Rusin issued a four-pitch walk to Mark Ellis to start the game and his first five pitches were out of the strike zone. But he settled in nicely, threw strikes and stayed ahead in the count.

After Thursday’s start, Chris Rusin has allowed one run on eight hits with one walks and three strikeouts in four Spring Training appearances, 13 innings (0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP).

Drew Carpenter picked up where Rusin left off and tossed two scoreless innings. Jaye Chapman and Blake Parker combined for a scoreless eighth. Zach Putnam had command issues in the ninth and gave up the only run of the game on a two-out double to Juan Uribe. Putnam was charged with one run on one hit with a walk and no strikeouts.

Cubs’ pitching did a good job against a very difficult Dodgers’ lineup. While it is just Spring Training, throwing quality strikes and breaking bats is always a good sign. Dale Sveum’s staff allowed one run on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

A day after suffering their first shutout of the spring, the Cubs scored five of their eight runs in the first three innings. Welington Castillo (1-for-2 with a triple, two RBI, HBP and two runs scored) had a good game again, following a pattern this spring. It seems like when Dioner Navarro has a good game, Castillo steps his up the next day. Castillo put the Cubs on the board with a two-run triple in the first, and scored the third run on a RBI groundout off the bat of Dave Sappelt (0-for-3 with a RBI).

Brent Lillibridge (2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored) had a good game against left-hander Chris Capuano. Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a RBI) started at short and drove in a run in the third inning. Darnell McDonald went 2-for-3 with a RBI and Brian Bogusevic (1-for-2 with a double and two RBI) capped the Cubs’ scoring with a two-run double in the ninth.

The Cubs scored eight runs on nine hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts on Thursday afternoon in Glendale.

The Cubs beat the Dodgers for the first time this spring (1-2) behind one of the few complete games they have played to this point in the Cactus League.

The Cubs jumped on Chris Capuano in the first inning. After Darwin Barney grounded out to second to start the game, Brent Lillibridge pulled a 2-2 pitch into the left field corner. Nate Schierholtz walked after being behind in the count 1-2. Welington Castillo stepped in and drove a 2-2 pitch over Matt Kemp’s head in center. Lillibridge and Schierholtz scored, and Castillo ended up a third with a triple. Dave Sappelt followed and did his job. Sappelt grounded out to second (2-1 pitch). Castillo scored, 3-0 Cubs. Valbuena popped out to right to end the inning.

Chris Rusin’s afternoon did not get off to a good start. Chris Rusin walked Mark Ellis on four pitches then missed on his first pitch to Andre Ethier. After getting one over, Ethier popped out to center and Rusin settled down. Kemp hit a weak grounder to short (2-1 pitch). Either was forced at second. Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a 5-6 force out to end the inning.

The Cubs added on to their lead in the third. Brent Lillibridge led off the inning with a single to right center. Schierholtz could not check his swing on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Capuano then plunked Welington Castillo on his elbow. With runners on first and second with one out, Sappelt struck out swinging. Luis Valbuena delivered a two-out single into left. Valbuena scored, 4-0 Cubs. Darnell McDonald followed with a singled to left that plated Castillo with the Cubs’ fifth run. Nelson grounded out to first base to end the inning.

The game remained 5-0 until the seventh. Chris Rusin retired the Dodgers in order in the fourth and fifth inning and retired the last nine batters he faced. While Rusin and Drew Carpenter were busy putting zeros on the board, the Cubs’ offense struggled against the Dodgers pen … until the seventh inning.

Brett Jackson led off the seventh with a single to right … and basically manufactured a run. Jackson stole second with Alberto Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzalez then advanced Jackson to third on basically a swinging bunt. Edwin Maysonet walked. With Brian Bogusevic at the plate, Ronald Belisario uncorked a wild pickoff attempt to first. The ball sailed, Jackson scored and Maysonet ended up at second with one down. Bogusevic and Chavez struck out swinging to end the inning.

Yimi Garcia took over for the Dodgers in the ninth. Brad Nelson led off the inning with a single to right. Brett Jackson popped out to short, but Gonzalez hit a routine fly to center that Alex Castellanos simply dropped. Maysonet struck out swinging before Brian Bogusevic drove in two with a double to left. Chavez grounded out to short (3-2 pitch) to end the inning.

Zach Putnam took over in the ninth … and surrender the first run of the day for Cubs’ pitching. Putnam walked Jesus Flores to start the ninth. Elian Herrera grounded out to second. Gonzalez tagged Flores but could not turn a double play. Ramon Castro lined out to right.

Juan Uribe stepped in and launched a double to center over the head of Brett Jackson. The speedy Herrera scored, and Uribe ended up at second with a double. Justin Sellers hit a routine grounder to third. Josh Vitters fielded the ball cleanly but Brad Nelson had to did the ball out of the dirt to end the game.

Friday is the first of back-to-back-to-back split squad days for the Cubs. Scott Feldman is scheduled to face Gavin Floyd and the White Sox back in Glendale … while the other half of the Cubs’ roster and Travis Wood will host Team Japan.

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Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

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  • SuzyS

    Neil, Thanks for all the fine reports keeping us updated on the multiple storylines of ST. It would be impossible to keep straight without all the hard work of you, Tom U, and Brian.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you Suzy

  • SuzyS

    Rusin’s good spring is encouraging….it also opens up the question…what are his prospects of cracking the rotation in the fuure if he does well in the pen this season????

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Suzy, Rusin has been the big surprise for me this spring. I know he is in the mix for a bullpen spot, but I still think he will begin the year in Iowa’s rotation. They should see if he can build on what he has done this spring … and if nothing else, maybe they have another James Russell on their hands.

      • daverj

        I’d love to be wrong, but I think Rusin’s success this spring is just a case of a small sample size. I think his best case scenario is being another James Russell type. Much more likely are outcomes of a career minor leaguer or major league longman.

      • 07GreyDigger

        I’m not sure about that. Rusin is already on the 40 man and Takahaski isn’t. Would they risk losing someone on the 40 man to keep Rusin in the minors?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I think they would. One spot will be opened when Vizcaino is placed on the 60-day DL, there is the move needed to add Brent Lillibridge. Don’t be surprised if they use the injury to Junior Lake to open another spot. They can place Lake on the 60-day and open a spot for a pitcher like Takahashi.