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miller parkThe Cubs simply are not interested in winning this week.

I kid, but it sure has seemed that way. Chris Rusin will do his part tonight to change that.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (63-88) v. Milwaukee Brewers (67-83), 7:10 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

Apologies for the lack of a Series Preview on this one. Just didn’t have time with the family move.

Starting Pitchers

Chris Rusin (2-4, 2.85 ERA, 4.27 FIP)

versus

Tyler Thornburg (2-1, 2.18 ERA, 3.40 FIP)

Milwaukee Brewers Lineup

1. Norichika Aoki, RF

2. Jean Segura, SS

3. Jonathan Lucroy, C

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Carlos Gomez, CF

6. Khris Davis, LF

7. Sean Halton, 1B

8. Scooter Gennett, 2B

9. Tyler Thornburg, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Luis Valbuena, 3B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Dioner Navarro, C

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Ryan Sweeney, CF

7. Brian Bogusevic, LF

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Chris Rusin, P

  • Jason P

    Chris Rusin’s FIP has been on the rise his past few starts, even though his ERA has stayed relatively constant. Let’s see if it catches up with him today.

  • DEEP PURPLE

    FWIW,On local radio in Iowa, Kaplan just put Sveum’s chance of managing 2014 at under 50%. I tend to believe a lower percentage because since they are not going to win in 2014, smoke and mirrors hope that a new manager would bring seems like the proper play to string fans along. Also wasn’t that about the third time this year Schafer has put down a squeeze bunt on the Cubs?

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Sveum has one more year – the Cubs aren’t going to do anything special next year – Sveum will be back to finish his contract. Then someone else will lead the team to the playoffs, as hopefully “the plan” will then start to kick in.

    • Blublud

      The only thing worse then paying Sveum to manage next year, is paying Sveum not to manage. Unless the Cubs are going to sign all of Abreu, Choo, Ellsbury, Tanaka, start Bryant and Baez off in the bigs and make a solid run in 2014, then Sveum will be the manager. After 2014, he can kick rocks.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        I disagree, Blu. The only thing worse than paying Sveum to NOT manage the Cubs is allowing him TO manage the Cubs when there is a possibility Baez, Bryant or other MiLB guys could be ready to play.

        • mjhurdle

          He does a solid job developing players, so i have no problem with Sveum staying with some rookies.

          • Blublud

            You mean like Jackson, Vitters, Watkins, Dolis and several others. But there is that Lake guy, and Maybe Rusin. 2 out of how many.

            • mjhurdle

              Valbuena stands out as well as a player that has improved every year with Sveum, and Castillo of course.

              but yes, i guess if the determining factor is whether or not 100% of the prospects turn into stars, then yes, Sveum has to go.

              Also, most of the players you listed are irrelevant to this discussion.
              Watkins, Jackson, Vitters, and Lake have yet to even establish a baseline with which to judge improvement/decline. I wouldn’t blame Sveum for jackson striking out a ton on his first call-up any more than i give him the credit for lake having a good couple of months after being called up.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            I will confess to not really knowing who Sveum is working with and how his coaching them has worked. I don’t think any of us can. What I do think, though, is we will get the answer when the FO makes their 2014 managerial decision. It seems likely that some of our next wave of talent will reach the bigs in 2014. The FO knows this. If Sveum stays, they have faith he can develop the kids. If he goes, we’ll know they don’t.

            • willis

              I’ve said it before…I don’t want him anywhere near the future. Then again the way this team is finishing and the fact they won’t do anything to improve next season, I suppose what the hell. I can’t stand him though and the sooner he’s gone the better.

  • CeeDeeVee

    Has anyone else noticed that Rusin can allow 1 run on 4 hits and he’s taken out in the 6th, and the 7th if he’s lucky. Yet if Jeff has allowed 4 runs on 9 hits, he goes 7, 8 innings. Why is that? I doubt it’s to watch Rusin’s arm.

    I think he can go the distance tonight and be very effective, IF he’s allowed.

    • Jason P

      I’m sure it’s because of the difference in stuff. Pitchers who have better stuff generally are better off in their 3rd or 4th time through the order.

      The problem with Samardzija is he seems to start walking guys when he gets near 100 pitches.

  • MikeW

    Junior Lake isn’t playing enough

    • RWakild

      Agreed. Lake has sat enough this year. He seems to get at least one hit per game. Let the guy learn how to play please!!!!

    • mjhurdle

      seriously?
      he has appeared in 54 of the 58 games that he has been up on the club for, and started 50 of those.

      he is basically on pace to have started 145-150 games if he had been with the club from the beginning of the year.

      How exactly is that “not playing enough” again?

      • Jason P

        He’s been playing a lot less in September (hasn’t been in the starting lineup 7 out of 17 games). He’s basically fallen into a 4-man platoon with Schierholtz, Bogusevic, and Sweeney.

        It’s not a huge deal, but Lake might be the 1 guy on this team who most needs the reps, especially on defense. If they really want a longer look at Bogusevic/Sweeney, I’d much prefer a 2-man platoon between the 2 of them, perhaps even with Schierholtz in that group getting a day off every third day, since he seems to have worn down a bit last last month or so.

        • mjhurdle

          I agree that I don’t think it is a big deal, which is why i find it so strange how everyone freaks out when he isn’t in the lineup.
          He has been starting a ton, and there are many reasons why they may be giving him a lighter load now, whether he is slightly worn down due to the excitement of his first call-up, or maybe he has some minor strain or something that isn’t worth mentioning/they dont want to mention that they are resting.

          • Mike

            I would have to disagree. Started 27 of 28 games in August. Now he’s started 10 of 17 games in September. People talk about a BABIP that is unsustainable and will regress with a larger sample size. He should be starting every game this month. Let’s get him the ABs now so we can see the regression take place and give him something to focus on in the offseason. Or I guess we can all wait until next season and wonder what happened to Lake. No reason in my opinion to shield him from anything right now.

            • mjhurdle

              could we entertain, for just a moment, the insane idea that perhaps we don’t know everything going on with Lake, and that maybe, just maybe, there are reasons why he is getting more days off now?

              • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                Insane Idea: Is MGMT looking at Junior Lake as a trade candidate to shop around the offseason? Playing him….just enough to keep his value high, but not too much that he’s “exposed.”

                It sounds insane – given his low cost – but they might value the player coming back (jn a say a 2 Cubs for 1 swap) much more. Just an idea…

                Not saying it is the case, but it could be a case.

                • MichiganGoat

                  They will absolutely shop him as well as every other valuable player. It might not become public but if Lake can be part of a Stanton or Price like player then he’s provided a value that was unexpected.

                • mjhurdle

                  that is a very interesting idea.

                • hansman1982

                  I would say that Insane Idea 1B would be that they have been able to evaluate his skills and abilities and now want more looks at other players.

                  Ooo, ooo, ooo, Insane idea 1C: He is deeper into a season than he has ever played and so they are limiting his ABs because of reasons 1A and 1B?!?!?!?!

                  ORRRR:

                  Theo, Jed, Dale and Jason are all idiots and random message board posters know more than them.

                  • Jason Powers

                    You were at least tolerably on point until the ad hominem guised as a blanket statement. Random is inaccurate; more like speculative. I also did not imply anything about MGMT level of accumen. But thanks for devolving into a feckless discussion because that shows a lot.

                    • Hansman1982

                      Maybe I should have added another R to “or” to further indicate I was going into cookoo bananas land.

                    • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                      1) Lake’s 23; doubt if him being tired is the excuse. If he’s banged up, that’s reasonable. He’s played in 93 total games – that’s not a stresser on a young and able body man. (As he’s played in more games EVERY season before this, going back to 2008.)

                      If he was 28-30-32, and had 4-6 150 game + seasons under his belt, then yeah, that holds water. He gets a night off once every couple of weeks for the season.

                      2) Baseball men are always evaluating; it never EVER stops. I wasn’t on way or another on whether he rides pine for a night, or three, or even if they play him until he “Puigs” into a wall. They got whatever plan they have, and we fans (and baseball wannabe analysts) have our guesses as to that plan.

                      But taking the convo to negative land was not helpful. I respected you much more before that, even if we might tend to disagree.

                      3) They are also contingency planning: what works, or doesn’t; what is the vision they have for 1 year, 3 years down the pike. So, if Lake is parted with this early, it is by a design, or an opportunity seen. (Say Ben Zobrist and a minor leaguer was available for Lake, Barney, Vogelback and Pierce Johnson. NOT saying Tampa bites on that)

                      I feel understand that better than most do – even if you think otherwise. I don’t get TOO wrapped up in who stays or goes, it’s sports, and the money drives where guys land as much as their instant performances.

                      I do care about how the overall statistics and psychology meshes together long-term. Do we get the right mixes of power, patience, determination, and that “team chemistry” that does happen every once in a while to lead to championships.

                      I didn’t take a pot shot at you. I don’t think your crazy either. I suggested that I feel he’s not apart of the big picture. You contend it’s about evaluation and wearing down – I don’t agree.

                      That’s where I’ll leave it, as I am attempting to turn over a new leaf. That take time and effort.

  • Aaron

    Sveum’s time with the Cubs may be coming to an end sooner than many of us had thought.

    Girardi is in the final year of his contract with the Yankees. He has earned a World Series title in 2008, and two other first-place finishes in the division. Yes he’s done that with talented rosters with the Yankees, but let’s give Joe some credit. If he is looking for a managerial position in 2014, the Cubbies would be foolish not to consider Girardi for the job.

    The fans are looking for some progress with the team. Hiring Girardi and bringing in a quality lead-off hitter that plays solid defense would go a long way!

    • Tom G

      Agreed! Get Girardi while we can. Look what he has done with an injury riddled, ever-changing lineup. Not to mention all the egos! We could possibly finish around .500 with an experienced, battle tested manager.

    • Blublud

      Ron Washington may be available also.

      • bbmoney

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Bret Epic

    I think firing him and hiring Girardi OR Gardenhire is a downright great idea. Even if Sveum isn’t the one to blame for the “regression” of Castro and Rizzo, it would likely boost morale if they hired a new manager. Everyone needs a finger to point and after 2 miserable seasons in a row under Sveum, we’re all aware that he isn’t the manager of the future. With the possibility of prospects such as Alcantara, Baez and Bryant making the roster sometime next year, he is not the manager I want for those prospects.

    • mjhurdle

      because he might do for them what he did for Castillo?

      • Bret Epic

        I think a big part of his improvements were from watching video of Molina AND his work ethic. Coaches aren’t always the reason for a players improvement, and you really think that we wouldn’t see even MORE improvement with Girardi as a manager for Castillo? He was a catcher after all…..

        • mjhurdle

          i have no clue how much improvement we would see out of Castillo under Girardi.
          The Yankee catchers aren’t exactly lighting the world up. More accurately, they are all flirting with the Mendoza line.
          But im sure they just need to watch more Molina videos and work harder. Or maybe they are watching Molina videos, just the wrong Molina, so they think low 200 hitting is the key to success.
          i just wanted to make sure that we were still blaming Sveum and the staff for all the “disappointments” and crediting the players whenever they show improvement.

          • Professor Snarks

            “i just wanted to make sure that we were still blaming Sveum and the staff for all the “disappointments” and crediting the players whenever they show improvement.”

            Or, in your case, crediting every player that improved to Sveum, and ignoring all the players who didn’t. (see what I did there?).

            • mjhurdle

              where did i do that?
              I would invite you to read my posts a little more closely, because i do not claim anywhere that Sveum is responsible for every single player’s success. i can’t even guarantee that he is responsible for Castillo’s success.
              My point is more against the growing number of posts that assume that Sveum is somehow a bad developer on talent based on certain players, while at the same time ignoring any player that has shown improvement.

              You can make an argument, but if all it consists of is ‘Castro and Rizzo have worse stats this year, so I dont want him working with Baez’ then it lacks any shred of credibility.

              Hopefully this helps clear up your confusion.

              • Professor Snarks

                Good. You got my point.

                • mjhurdle

                  yes i did. it wasn’t hard to find that you were confused. glad i could help.

              • Bret Epic

                Whether or not players have improved or haven’t improved in Sveum’s presence, I would rather have someone who has more experience as a manager, and someone who has shown to be fully capable of developing players. Having a manager with more experience to develop an onslaught of young talent coming makes sense, doesn’t it?

                • wvcubsfan

                  So results don’t matter only experience?

                  • Bret Epic

                    …obviously results matter. We’ve had a couple of players who have excelled since Sveum has taken over, especially Wood and Castillo. The amount that he has personally done for the players is debatable. With the decline of Castro and Rizzo and the incoming minor leaguers in 2014, I would rather have someone who has more experience. Gardenhire and Girardi have done great things in their careers. “Gardenhire won the American League Manager of the Year Award (in 2010)[4] and has finished as runner-up five times while leading the Twins (in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009).” Girardi has also done a great job as a manager with the Yankees and Marlins, and won Manager of the Year in 2006. If you had read what I posted prior to the post you commented on, you would know that I’m advocating for a manager with experience who is known for his managerial capabilities and success.

                    • wvcubsfan

                      Won’t matter what the managers name is. In two years if the Cubs aren’t in the World Series they will be stupid and need to be fired and replaced with the new hottness.

                  • Bret Epic

                    I’m someone who is on board with the whole “rebuild,” I’m just in favor of a new manager for the Cubs. I don’t believe that many Cubs fans have a timeline for the Cubs winning the world series, (unless it’s before they die) but I am confident that the probability of success goes up with an experienced and proven manager. I do not have a deadline for the Cubs, but I do think that 2014-2016 will be “make or break” for the Cubs, considering a lot of the young prospects will be called up to the majors during those years. If you’re a Cubs fan, you should hope they have the best guy for the job. If you somehow think it’s Sveum, so be it. I personally don’t think it’s Sveum. Either way, time will tell, and we’ll see what they do in the offseason.

    • Cyranojoe

      Whose morale? What gives you the impression the players don’t like Dale?

      • Bret Epic

        I never said they necessarily liked or disliked him, but I do know that players can find it relieving when they have something or someone to blame. A fresh start could help, and in my personal opinion, there are better options out there. That being said, it’s just a thought, and I’m not saying it would definitely work, nor am I saying that Dale is Quade version 2.

  • Aaron

    Tom – Timing could be right for Girardi and the Cubs. The club cannot wait another year to find the “right” manager when he could be right there in front of them. He’s a former Cub (twice), has 4 World Series rings, has won Manager of the Year, can handle a big market team and media as a manager, is tough and commands respect…etc. Sounds like a perfect choice…and the timing couldn’t be more right!

    • willis

      IF there are legs to this when the time is right, then hell yes, you go after him and kick Sveum. I can see him at least being interested in working for Epstein and trying to bring a winner to the cubs. Unless the Yankees extend him before the cubs can get involved, I think you have to kick those tires.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com salesguy

    The same was true of the Tigers, when they “Rebuilt” they had Allan Trammell as their manager. When the talent hit the Horizon however, in walks Jim Leyland, I’m convinced that Svuem is a placeholde. The team after this season will be on the verge of having the young talent arrive, and the Cubs will look for a proven winner to lead this team, lets also not forget Girardi’s success with the Marlins, that team was very young.

  • Die hard

    The Cubs thru Sveum were trying to mold Castro into a Sandberg clone who at the same stage learned to be selective so can pick pitches to drive and the rest is history– problem is using Sveum instead of Sandberg is like running a plow horse in the Kentucky Derby– it was obvious to the Cubs 2 yrs ago that Castro didn’t know how to do so ….wouldn’t it make sense to plan ahead by hiring Sandberg to protect a rising star? Castro would have listened to Sandberg who is in HOF and has more credibility than Sveum who as a youngster is impressionable– what’s the use??!!!

  • willis

    I think this is the real Rusin. His stuff just won’t play long term in the bigs.

    As much pitching as there is on this team, there isn’t enough good pitching. They have to make a run at an arm somehow.

  • Aaron

    The Cubs are starting to quit on Sveum and his staff which is not good for anybody. It’s going to be interesting to see how the season ends, but the trend is not looking good.

    If Dale or his staff do not have the respect of the players, especially the younger players who are supposed to be our core, then how can he really return for another season? I’m sure the FO is aware of this and are concerned as well. The fans are also hip to what’s going on. I think it’s the right time for a new manager and staff, especially if the right choice is available now, rather than waiting for another year.

    I’ve already shared my argument for hiring Joe Girardi, which I believe is compelling.

    • mjhurdle

      i think it is way too early to say that Sveum and his staff has lost the respect of the players.

      this is a guy that people like joe Torre, Terry Francona, Paul Molitor, Jim Leyland, and others have high praise for, and all almost universally agree is a guy that players love.

      “”In Boston,” Wehner said, “he was amazed at the access he had to information about outfielders’ arms, and infield alignments, and all kinds of things. He got beaten up for some of the decisions he made as third-base coach there, but I guarantee he was as prepared as any coach can be.

      “The guys I know in Boston loved Dale Sveum. I’ve never met a guy who didn’t like him. And he’s not afraid of anybody. He’ll offer his beliefs, he’s not afraid to admit when he’s wrong, and he’s not afraid to take the opinion of others. And he had relationships with everybody. He might have lunch with Derek Jeter, and that night go have dinner with the bat boy.

      “And whoever it was, he got respect. He didn’t demand it, he received it.””

      per an ESPN Boston article when Sveum was hired.

      are things different now? could things have changed in a couple years? of course, but i think 2 minor arguments in a dugout are not enough to draw that assumption.

  • Die hard

    Players saw that Sveum won’t be back next year when Cubs traded Soriano… Just mailing it in thereafter

  • Gutshot5820

    I’ve been watching Bull Durham the movie and I just figured out what is wrong with Castro. He’s been thinking too much at the plate. He needs to wear women’s underwear to take his mind off of all those thoughts.

    • Die hard

      How do u know he isn’t ?

    • MichiganGoat

      Ah what a cute new comedy routine you got going here, compare the Cubs to baseball movies… aren’t you original.

      And now you and die hard can tour as a duo… adorable.

      • DarthHater

        You’ve got fungus on your shower shoes, goat.

      • mjhurdle

        just wait until he gets a hold of Rookie of the Year. It is gonna blow his mind.

  • Dustin S

    It’s starting to sound like the Cubs will put out feelers and see if any of the top available managers might be interested (not easy with the current state of the team), and if not just give Sveum one more year. No sense firing him to put a lateral-level guy in there, but if they could pull off a Girardi or similar (not sure I’m sold on Gardenhire) they’d have to make that move. They’d have to paint a picture that they expect to be good in 2015-16.

    • Die hard

      At AllStar break I suggested Bud Black was the guy given Hoyer connection and I am still sticking with him as top choice to manage in 2014

      • MichiganGoat

        Um you’ve been calling for Bud Black every single day (except when you’re still pinning for Sandberg)… we get it.

        • Die hard

          Who peeeed in your frosted flakes?

          • DarthHater

            As a fruit loop, you really should try to avoid the cereal references.

  • rockin’ dawg

    Looks like we’re getting closer to clinching that #4 draft pick!

  • Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

    Here’s hoping we lose the next 10 games and catch the white sox for the 3rd pick in the Draft!

  • bbmoney

    DDJ with a big hit for the Rays.

    And somewhere Kim is smiling.

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