chris rusin cubsI had my first of two fantasy drafts yesterday (12 team league, two keepers per team), and Yahoo says I got an A+. I’m not sure I love it quite as much as Yahoo – because I was keeping Arian Foster (3rd round) and David Wilson (7th round), I decided to reach for Drew Brees late in the first round, and Rob Gronkowski in the 4th. If Gronk doesn’t come back in September, and Foster’s injury issues continue, I could be in a heap of trouble early, despite my A+.

  • Chris Rusin’s FIP climbed slightly yesterday (from 3.80 to 3.82), but his ERA dropped dramatically following his scoreless outing, all the way down to 2.64. How’s he doing it? Well, it isn’t the old standby of luck – Rusin’s BABIP is right around normal for him (.281). Instead, his success is built largely on a couple other “lucky” factors: a huge left on base percentage (83.3%) and a very low home run/fly ball percentage (7.5%). He isn’t really striking a lot of guys out (14.4%) and his walk rate could actually stand to be better (8.9%), so it’s no surprise that the 3.82 FIP is only a hair better than average, even though his ERA looks much, much better. All in all, he’s performing a touch better than a league average starter over his 44.1 big league innings, which is certainly not an insult. A cost-controlled lefty 5th starter who is a touch better than league average? You’d take that any day of the week (well, maybe not any day, but at least the days on which he was scheduled to start). He’s firmly in the conversation for a starting job next year, but we’ll see how he closes things out.
  • The good news is that the throw off of Nate Schierholtz’s face yesterday was actually a throw off the brim of his helmet, and he’s OK from the throw. The bad news is that he tweaked his back, and was pulled from the game. It doesn’t sound like the back injury is serious, but we’ll see if he plays tonight in Los Angeles.


  • Dale Sveum told Mark Gonzales that he’s seeing some improvement in Anthony Rizzo hitting in the two-hole. Although order doesn’t really matter, Sveum says, some guys just feel more comfortable in certain spots because of the varying degrees of pressure.
  • Dale Sveum tends to trust Jeff Samardzija when he gets into sticky situations.
  • A young fan eventually got a baseball yesterday, but not before some drama. I especially like the dad who sent his kid in at the last moment to snipe the second baseball.
  • Len Kasper on the difficulty of being in the clubhouse on a losing team in August.
  • Brooks Raley is dealing with a blister at Iowa, which is of some relevance given that he’s an expected September call-up. He’ll want to be in prime pitching condition next week, and his blister isn’t expected to hold him back.
  • You probably weren’t worried, but in case you were: last week, when the Cubs placed pitching prospects Tyler Skulina and Rob Zastryzny on the DL at Kane County, it was just a matter of ending their seasons because of an innings limit, not any kind of serious injuries.


  • BN’er Chris – who wrote a fantastic history of the Chicago Cubs in ‘Beyond Bartman, Curses and Goats: 104 Reasons Why It’s Been 104 Years’  – got a very strong endorsement from Mike Klis of the Denver Post. It’s on sale right now at Amazon for just $12.80.



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