Game One Hundred Thirty-Five: Cubs (56-78) vs. Phillies (62-73)
- Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet/MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
- Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.64/1.29/3.82) vs. Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.07/1.04/3.03)
Weather permitting … The Cubs will try to end August on a positive note with a win over Cliff Lee and the Phillies. The Cubs have not played good ball this month, especially at Wrigley Field. The Cubs enter play on the final day of August with a 7-20 record and have dropped 17 of their last 20 games at Wrigley.
While the pitching staff has been much better than last August (8-21 in 2012), the offense has really struggled since the end of July. And it will not get any easier today with Cliff Lee on the mound.
The Cubs need for Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro to finish their season on a positive note. Both Castro and Rizzo put together good, productive at bats on Friday. And hopefully both players will be able to build on those at bats over the final 28 games of the year.
With Cliff Lee on the hill, look for Dale Sveum to run out his right-handed lineup that will likely include Darnell McDonald in left, Cole Gillespie in right and Welington Castillo behind the plate.
The last day of August all begins with Chris Rusin …
Chris Rusin is coming off another good road start. Rusin tossed 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball in San Diego and went pitch for pitch with Andrew Cashner. Rusin received a no decision in a game that went 15 innings after he allowed only three hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Chris Rusin has shown a lot of improvement this season from a year ago and he will try to do something this afternoon that he has not done this season, post a win at Wrigley Field.
Rusin has been serviceable in three starts at Wrigley this year but has not been as effective in his home park than on the road. Rusin has given up 20 hits with six walks and only nine strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings at Wrigley compared to 21 hits with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings outside of Wrigley Field.
Chris Rusin missed the Phillies earlier in the month and will make his first career start against Philadelphia today … and no one on the Phillies’ active roster has faced Rusin in a regular season ballgame.
Cliff Lee has quietly put together a very good season and he is coming off an excellent outing against the Mets. Lee held the Mets to one run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in eight innings. Lee has not allowed more than three earned runs in each of his last four starts and figures to pose a big challenge for the Cubs this afternoon.
Lee is 1-3 in his last six starts with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP and after a rough July, he is 1-2 in five August starts with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
The Cubs have never beaten Cliff Lee, and have not been very much competition for the veteran southpaw during his career. Lee is 4-0 in six career starts against the Cubs with a 1.77 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP … and at Wrigley Field, Lee is 1-0 in three starts with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Cliff Lee
- Dioner Navarro (.297) – 1-for-16 with a double
- Donnie Murphy (.311) – 1-for-15
- Starlin Castro (.288) – 2-for-9 with a home run and a walk
- Darnell McDonald (.188) – 3-for-8 with two doubles and a walk
- Cody Ransom (.250) – 0-for-7
- Darwin Barney (.229) – 2-for-4
- Nate Schierholtz (.291) – 0-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …