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 – O.com 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.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Valbuena – 3B
    Castro – SS
    Schierholtz – RF
    Soriano – LF
    Rizzo – 1B
    Navarro – DH
    Bogusevic – CF
    Barney – 2B
    Castillo – C

    Rusin – P

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      lol…that me put this lineup through the “Jason Living In Reality” translator.

      If this was the lineup for any team competing for a playoff spot, here is how I would describe these players:

      4th infielder (at best) at 3B
      overhyped young singles hitter at SS
      career year 4th outfielder in RF
      aging bad-contract-should-be-a-DH in LF
      young slugger with promise but needs seasoning at 1B
      backup catcher at DH
      .200 hitter last season for Astros in CF
      good fielding backup infielder at 2B
      decent but unproven young C at C
      sacrificial farm call-up for spot start at P
      As I typed this, Rusin gave up another homer…this would all be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
      But, hey, Cubs will be good in 2018 or so, with these 16 yr old international signings.
      What I don’t get, is how this FO is getting a pass with not signing more productive FA’s, even on 1 yr contract, to play the OF at least. At least make it look like you aren’t purposely tanking for another great draft pick.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Thanks for the reality check. Of course, this team isn’t competing for a playoff spot at all, and as you say, won’t until 2018+.

        Maybe we can trade for Albert Pujols. He’s hitting .248 and slugging a mere .426 this year. Soriano is outslugging him at .439, and, incredibly, costs less.

        And that backup Catcher is slugging .531, which is more than Pujols and Hamilton and everybody else on their team, except for Mike Trout at .542.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          Stats thru June don’t predict future success. I am going to guess Pujols and Hamilton will have a better 2H than our backup catcher.
          Otherwise, Corey Patterson would have been a career .300 hitter with 25 homers and 25 steals every year, based on his 2003.
          Instead, he wound up more like Felix Pie…

          • Ripsnorter1

            We shall see. Albert has looked just awful when compared to the St. Louis Albert. And he has the gall to say that he has some bitterness about the way the Cards handled him when he went FA. LOL $254 million dollars doesn’t make him happy. Who does he think he is?

            No, I expect Pujols and Hamilton to continue to hit about where they are right now for the rest of 2013.

            I coulc be very wrong, too.

          • paulcatanese

            Not really Rip, the Saber people are saying that Pujols at least will not improve much the rest of this year, (and they say they could be wrong, but the figures don’t lie). So they and I agree with you.
            Pujols will become the all time albatross of contracts. And right again, a lot of nerve on his comments that the Cards mishandled him. They gave him everything they could and then some.

      • Dorasaga

        Rizzo has been the best defensive 1B in baseball three seasons to now. He’s ready. The swing will come back.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          I like Rizzo, too. You wonder if he was surrounded by better hitters, if he wouldn’t be seeing better pitches and the hitting would also be contagious. Either way, the experience is good for him, but he can’t play the “new guy” card forever…has to get consistent. If he never got better than he is at present, he would still be a good 1B, just not great. Here’s to hoping he becomes great!

          • Dorasaga

            Cross your fingers. He at least should mature to become a Mark Grace-type of hitter. His defense is indispensable, his presence on the field, really helped other infielders and pitching (esp. Castro).

      • Tony_Hall

        who would you have signed on one year contracts for the outfield

        already had soriano dejesus and then signed schierholtz for one year but have control for two and then signed hairston for two years

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          Dejesus, Schierholtz, and Hairston are really all 4th-5th type outfielders. Signing a bunch of 4th OF’s does not equate to a starting outfielder.
          Schierholtz may currently have caught lightning in a bottle…will see if it lasts. But I would have rather seen us put a farm guy out there to see what they have, or sign an actual starting-caliber OF, even if it was an aging guy on a 1-year deal.

          • Tony_Hall

            I notice you didn”t answer who you would have signed as there were no one to sign that matched your criteria

          • JasonOfTheBurbs

            I am too busy to look, and was too busy to post, but I am pretty sure that somewhere in MLB, there were more productive options than our platoon crew of OF’s. Or, like I mentioned, we could have given some farm prospects more experience at big-league level and see if they stick.

          • Tony_Hall

            All evidence to the contrary today, you just didn’t want to look it up, because there is just no one that matches what you said.

            But since you have no time, here is a link to an article that broke down how the platoons would be better than bringing in Michael Bourn, who would be far better than any one year player you could find not named Schierholtz and Hairston, both of whom were technically 2 years.

            http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/02/bourn-again-analysis-on-why-the-cf-simply-doesnt-make-sense-for-the-cubs-even-in-the-short-term/

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      Don’t know why…I decided to look back at the Year That Should Have Been…also known as 2004. Greg Maddux was ADDED to a staff of Prior, Wood, Zambrano, and Clement.
      Here is what the lineup looked like, when healthy, at full strength:
      Patterson
      Nomar/A-Gon
      Sosa
      Alou
      Lee
      Ramirez
      Walker/Gruds
      Barrett
      Holy Offense, Batman!
      This is why the current Cubs lineup makes me cry…
      Lee and Ramirez were acquired through trade…two of the best trades Cubs made in the past 10 years.
      That is how I want to see all these “assets” they are acquiring now wind up being used. There isn’t room for all these prospects at the big league level, nor are they all going to pan out.
      So place our best bets on a prospect or two, use the others to acquire/fleece smaller-market teams of their nearing-prime productive players, and pick up a couple useful FA’s.
      The Cubs are in a big market, and they charge big-market prices…time for 2014 to be a year we act like it.
      I can only handle watching what feels like 2006 reruns for only so long…

  • Ray Ray

    Valbuena is hitting .211 over the last month and worse than that more recently. With all this activity today and more coming…I hope we see a new body at 3B soon.

    • calicub

      Agreed. I also feel like I haven’t seen Ransom play in awhile.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Coming right back to reality. Wait until August. Real reality will be fully settled in by then.

      • calicub

        I cringe every time I see one of those pass10n tee shirts. But sadly that will be his longest lasting Cubs legacy

        • calicub

          That was supposed to respond below..

    • Tony_Hall

      so small sample sizes work to show how a bad a player is doing but not how good

  • calicub

    Wow! One day, what a flurry of activity.

    I’m happy with all of the deals made today although I wish the Cubs had hung onto Clevenger. The minors are bare of catchers that are MLB ready. I’m not saying Clevenger is the next Chris Davis but what happes if one of Castillo or navarro are injured today(knock on wood) who can they plug in tomorrow? J.C. Boscan? please no! I know Clevenger is hurt but theres my two cents.

    Come on Eloy!

    • Vivid_Reality

      They could always sign Koyie Hill again…

      • calicub

        Ha! I’d rather eat dirt

        • Ripsnorter1

          Koyie Hill has no love for the Cubs, either.

    • Ray Ray

      Clevenger can’t stay healthy. I wish he Cubs would have drafted catcher Jon Denny who slipped to the 3rd round. He was projected to go in the 1st and many had him as the #1 catcher. When he slid it was rumored because of signability…..but the Red Sox signed him for only $875,000 which was a shocker. Maybe they can aquire a catcher in a deal.

      • calicub

        They have to make catching a priority in the next month and hopefully Garza will net someone worthwhile.

        The oblique is a hard one to beat but the minor league depth is scary..

        I’m all for taking on projects like Arrieta and Strop, especially when they throw as hard as they do. But the thought of losing the only MLB ready catcher in the minors whose had relative success in his small sample size doesn’t sit will.

        • DWalker

          I wonder if they have a couple of guys they are looking to convert to catcher at this point. I think in my book with what we are seeing in the lower levels for pitching, catcher is maybe the biggest single weakness in the system now.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Convert Bogusevic to C. He’s a .220 hitter (at best), has a big arm, and knows how a pitcher should pitch.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Bogusevic showed a lot of improvement in the minors this season. You should look at his numbers. And Houston’s Triple-A teams also play in the PCL.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I watched his AAA numbers, along with all of the Iowa squad.

            Bogusevic hit .231 in June in 91 AB. He had a hot April at .420, then May was .318. June was .231 with 24 K but 5 HR in 91 AB.

            Maybe he’ll hit .260+ for us, although I think .220 will be more like it. Can’t fan 27% of the time in the Show and hit more than that.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Good, then maybe you can wait to see how it plays out.

          • Rude Behavior

            Is the attitude necessary

          • Denver Mike

            Really?

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Neil can say whatever the hell he wants. With all the work he does for us I suggest you wactch the way you reply to anything he says.

            I’m all for posting whatever aomeoe wants but if you want to attack Neil take a hike bub…

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Sorry that may have been extreme but remember who your replying to when you are taling to Neil of all people. Rip is a big boy and can take it. He’s repexted even by those that don’t always agree with him.

          • RynoTiger

            I envisioned Neil grabbing a guy by the collar and saying in a gruff voice, “Get off my plane!”…but then I remember that’s the line I give to Dale Sveum when he’s mad so I have to think of a new line for Neil to say in my head.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Nice Harrison Ford reference … well done.

          • RynoTiger

            oh oh..I’ve got it..let’s go Predator…Neil grabs the guy by his collar and says in a smug voice, “I ain’t got time to bleed..”

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            You are exactly right. The attitude was not necessary. I get tired of the complaining just to complain.

        • Denver Mike

          I’m really looking forward to seeing who they land for Garza. If it turns out to be Olt and Perez from Texas I will be sorely disappointed as I don’t particularly care for either of them, and Olt’s vertigo/eye issues from earlier this year make me want to stay as far away as possible. If only he could have stayed healthy last year and we could have landed d’Arnaud from Toronto, in spite of his durability issues that would have been a coup.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I wish we can sign Bryant.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          They will sign Bryant.

  • Ray Ray

    Homer Bailey is dealing tonight! For those who get mlb tv….turn the game on.Perect game thru 6. Reds vs Giants. Maybe the Giants will decide they need Soriano again if they get no hit :)

    • gary3411

      I think he needs to be a priority to acquire when we are ready to start to compete in a year or 2. I don’t think Reds have the money to extend him.

      • Ray Ray

        Perfect game gone on a leadoff walk in the 7th.

        • Ray Ray

          Wow! Just blew away Panda with a 97 MPH heater! No hitter still alive.

          • RynoTiger

            he couldn’t even stay perfect through 7 innings? what a bum! Sean Marshall would have been perfect so far and would have made only 21 pitches to be perfect through 7 innings.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Homer Bailey with his second no-no …

    • Ray Ray

      Both within 1 year. Last was September 2012. He was impressive tonight!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    That ball got out quick

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Teeing off on Rusin, gotta get that ball down.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good inning for Rusin in the third

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    that homer was so pretty, it might actually get Soriano traded…
    (one can dream, right?)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And Soriano ties it up with No. 10

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      if Soriano bats twice more, I am betting on another homer or at least a double off the wall.
      When he gets hot…he gets really hot!

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        to the track…

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Just missed it

    • Denver Mike

      We have to be able to find a taker in the AL after his performance against Seattle and now the 1st game against Oakland. How about a division rival like Texas? Pair him up with Garza for Profar? I know I’m dreaming but it’s not like Andrus or Kinsler are going anywhere.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    What a nice inning for the offense against a very good pitcher

  • RynoTiger

    Castro knows he’s even deeper in the dog house now.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I was gonna rip on the young SS with the entitlement attitude that the FO deemed too valuable to trade for Justin Upton, much to my chagrin.
    However, that was ballsy to go right back out into no-mans-land and almost collide with Soriano again, and he caught the ball with what seemed a contemptuous swipe.
    Now if he could just apply that attitude towards his hitting. Maybe the pain from his busted lip will help him focus at the plate. This could be the start of his return to the land of .300.
    He is still a singles hitter though.

    • paulcatanese

      The second time around was Soriono’s ball also, but he wanted no part of a guy who don’t know what he’s doing, and he backed off on purpose. Plus he was late on two throws that one was safe and the other could have gone either way. How many years will he still be 23?
      I agree with you’re first sentence , and understand the rest, not a criticism.

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        yeah…I thought I saw a spark in his spirit with that play…probably over-thinking it too much.

        And his next couple at-bats after that weren’t inspiring.
        With the other SS prospects in the system, especially Baez, perhaps the best we can hope is that Castro gets hot, and becomes a tradable “asset” soon.
        I also like the idea of moving him to 2B…he is a better hitter than Barney, and perhaps he can handle 2B throws better than at SS.

  • Vivid_Reality

    Eloy Jimenez signed with us, anyone else seeing this?

    • Rational Logic

      Fantasic day for the Cubs. Obviously nobody knows how it will pan out, but Jed and Theo earned the bucks today for the hard work.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I retweeted the report from Jesse Sanchez. Not official, it is from his source. Announcement is expected in a couple of days.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        “I gotta say it was a good day…”

        • calicub

          Yes! I was just thinkin this sight needed more Ice Cube references

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Who’s a comp for Jimenez? Beltran?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          That is a comp I have seen

      • daverj

        I just hope this report is true and not another Dempster/Delgado situation.

        If true, today was a big day for the organization. Team Theo is really loading up the minor league system. Of course, we won’t know if the plan is working for another couple years …

  • woody34

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/07/cubs-to-sign-eloy-jimenez.html

    Big couple of weeks for FO. Maybe Bryant will see the light now!!

  • calicub

    Story of the year…
    No lead is safe

    • paulcatanese

      Ya Think? Glad I didn’t make the trip.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    And Russell gives up a 3-run HR

  • daverj

    Wow … this bullpen sure knows how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Very rough after a well played game.

  • RynoTiger

    as much as I support the plan, I don’t support Sveum anymore. He just keeps making the same poor managerial decisions that we all know shouldn’t be made. I don’t see growth on his part as a manager.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 8-7 to Athletics on Tuesday night – Rusin: 3R, 6H,
    0BB, 2K, 3.1 IP (61, 32 strikes); Villanueva: 2R, 0ER, 2H, BB, K, 2.2IP

    Castillo:
    2-4, 2B, 3RBI; Soriano: 1-4, HR, 3RBI; Navarro: 3-4, 2B, R; Bogusevic: 2-4, 2R;
    Barney: 1-3, SF RBI