Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Athletics – 07/02/13

Game Eighty-One: Cubs (35-45) vs. Athletics (48-35)

  • Game Time – 9:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 179/844
  • Location – Coliseum, Oakland

Chris Rusin (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. A.J. Griffin (6-6, 3.56/1.09)

After spending their last day off before the All-Star break in the Bay Area, the Cubs make their first trip to Oakland to take on the second place Athletics. The Cubs are 4-2 over the first six games of the nine-game trip but will face a big challenge over the next three days. The A’s are playing good ball and have been one of the best teams in baseball over the last 12 months.

Scott Feldman was scheduled to start tonight’s opener in Oakland, instead it will be Chris Rusin. Feldman was dealt to Baltimore, along with Steve Clevenger for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Shrop and International slot money. Feldman will make his Orioles debut against the White Sox on Wednesday night.

Chris Rusin was named to the PCL All-Star team on Tuesday, the I-Cubs only representative, prior to officially being recalled to replace Scott Feldman, for now, in the Cubs rotation.

The Cubs also recalled Dave Sappelt to replace Ryan Sweeney, who was placed on the 60-day DL on Tuesday. Sappelt is with the team in Oakland and will be available off the bench for tonight’s game.

The Cubs are 10-4 in Interleague play this season while outscoring the Junior Circuit 88-49 in those 14 games. The offense outhit their own bullpen in Seattle in large part due to Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro doing their jobs. Soriano went 7-for-14 with two home runs, three doubles and five RBI during the three games with the Mariners while Castro is 7-for-24 with a double, a home run , two RBI and four runs scored since his day off last Tuesday.

The Cubs last faced the Athletics at Wrigley Field in 2010. Lou’s crew won two of the three games. Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro are the only two players left on the Cubs’ roster that faced the A’s just three short years ago.

After tonight’s matchup of Chris Rusin and A.J. Griffin, Matt Garza is scheduled to face Bartolo Colon in what could be his last start in a Cubs’ uniform on Wednesday. The series wraps on Thursday afternoon with Travis Wood expected to face Jarrod Parker. The A’s might have to make a change for Thursday’s starter depending on how Parker feels after his bullpen session today. Parker left his last start in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring.

Tonight marks the halfway point of the Cubs season … and it all starts with Chris Rusin in his first Major League start of the year.

Chris Rusin makes his first appearance against the Athletics in a regular season game tonight. Rusin was 2-3 in seven starts for the Cubs last year with a 6.37 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. Rusin allowed 22 runs, 21 earned, on 38 hits with 21 strikeouts and 11 walks in 29 2/3 innings.

Chris Rusin had a very good spring and nearly made the big club as a reliever. Rusin carried his success in camp into the regular season with Iowa and has really been the only consistent starter for the I-Cubs this season. In 17 games, 16 starts, Rusin was 7-7 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Rusin allowed 42 runs, 40 earned, on 99 hits with 63 strikeouts and 22 walks in 110 innings.

The Cubs have the pleasure of facing one of the best young right handers in the American League that not that many people know about. A.J. Griffin posted a 7-1 record in 15 games last season with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In his first 82 1/3 big league innings, Griffin struck out 64 batters with 19 walks while allowing less hits (74) than innings pitched.

Griffin is off to a good start this year. In 103 2/3 innings, Griffin has 81 strikeouts while walking only 25 and once again, he is allowing less hits (88) than innings pitched. Griffin is coming off his first complete game shutout of his career. Griffin held the Reds to two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in nine spectacular innings.

A.J. Griffin is 1-2 in his last five starts with a 2.60 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP and is 3-2 in seven starts in his home park with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

A.J. Griffin makes his first career appearance against the Cubs tonight … and no one on the Cubs roster has faced Griffin in a regular season game.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver