wrigley field from right bleachersIt’s the last night game of the year at Wrigley Field. There’ll be a few more at Wrigley next year.

Today’s start will be the last of the year for Chris Rusin, who looks to go out with a bang – and leave a good impression with the front office going into 2014.

Game Info

Pittsburgh Pirates (90-67) at Chicago Cubs (65-92), 7:05 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.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Gerrit Cole (9-7, 3.23 ERA, 2.98 FIP)


Chris Rusin (2-5, 3.52 ERA, 4.59 FIP)

Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup

1. Starling Marte, LF

2. Jordy Mercer, SS

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Marlon Byrd, RF

5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6. Russell Martin, C

7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B

8. Josh Harrison, 2B

9. Gerrit Cole, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Starlin Castro, SS

2. Junior Lake, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Dioner Navarro, C

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Donnie Murphy, 3B

7. Brian Bogusevic, CF

8. Logan Watkins, 2B

9. Chris Rusin, P

  • DarthHater

    Watkins! 😀

    • kscubfan

      beat me to it. good job!!

      • chrisfchi

        eh, i called it hours ago

    • ssckelley

      Sveum should be fired for this!

  • EQ76

    A team with Marlon Byrd hitting cleanup is in the playoffs.. just let that sink in.

    • baseballet

      Gluten free diet, plus legal vitamin supplements from Victor Conte. That spells cleanup duty.

    • Hansman1982

      Dude has been beastly since mid-May.

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

    Chris Rusin: He’s a best, a Loogy, as this reflects.

    His velocity just screams one batter… INTERESTING, he has yet to give up a JACK in the Bigs to a Lefty batter.


    • http://bleachenation Sacko

      I’ve never seen dots before for pitching, interesting.

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

        Kinda good for seeing a scatter of velocity for pitch types – how close they are to repeating their avg velocity per game, per month. Lots of ways to measure them out: Vertical vs. Horizontal movement can show indications of losing a pitch.

        The entire analysis requires about 4 or 5 charts to consistently snapshot against prior performance levels.

        Velocity vs. Movement, Usage of Pitches, Duration of Outings vs. Velocity Levels, et. al., and everything a person can cross assess to make a decision on the pitcher’s stuff. (Other pitchers like Kershaw or Harvey give you a great comparison basis for what it takes to dominate, IMO.)

    • Jason P

      I completely agree, but it looks like he’ll at least be a big-leauger in some capacity, unlike Brooks Raley. There simply isn’t much room in MLB for starters with below average breaking balls and fastballs that barely touch 90, but that changeup should be enough to get him by in LOOGY situations. In short burst outings, I could see Rusin maintaining a walk rate below 3 per 9 innings.

      • Jason Powers

        He’s a guy to keep until he gets expensive or someone wants because they dont hane a lefty specialist groomed at the moment. Find a home for Russell in trade, and get a prospect a catcher preferably back. Rusin can do what Russell does.

  • http://bleachenation Sacko

    I’m still going to lobby we pick up a #3 type FA pitcher. Unless they really are going after Tanaka or however he is spelled. Then come on Girardi ! And then pick up a big stick in the OF also.

  • Gutshot5820

    Taking into account how badly Rizzo and Castro has been playing this year. That lineup is puke worthy.

    • http://bleachenation Sacko

      Rizzo will bat better with a good bat behind him and Castro’s is showing some improvement. No that’s not enough but better then the Kasper lineup he predicted. That was eating his own puke.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy 16

    Orioles let Betemit go…with g is versatilty. .the Cubs should pick Him up. ..career .267 hitter .390 obp..would Love for the Cubs to pick him up

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy 16

    Dumb iPad hate this keyboard

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    INF Wes Darvill added to Cubs AFL roster.

  • mjhurdle

    Im excited to see Garritt Cole pitch tonight.
    Hopefully him and Rusin in a pitcher duel that the Cubs win late.

  • Josh T

    @CarrieMuskat: #Cubs experimenting with Ben Carhart, Gioskar Amaya, Giuseppe Papaccio, Jordan Hankins at catcher in instructional league, now underway

    • Jason Powers

      It shows creativity…and how they didn’t get something right away from the draft. Trade for a prospect catcher if one passes muster. Need a strong backstop to win long term.

  • Josh T

    Amaya’s bat would be interesting at catcher if he could convert

  • willis

    Well, Rusin getting shelled again. Got to get more starting pitching.

  • willis

    That bottom of the 6th sums up the season perfectly. Bases loaded, no out, “heart” of the order coming up…one run on a ground out. Heavens.

    • Professor Snarks

      Willis, don’t you know, batting avg doesn’t matter?

    • Jason P

      Everyone’s trying to hit the grand slam rather than just keep the line moving. Though, let’s be honest, those were 2 fantastic pitches to get the strikeouts from Navarro and Valbuena. 97 and painting both corners.

  • Kyle

    Who would you rather have right now, Almora or Wacha?

    • Jason P

      Wacha, without a doubt. Not that Almora’s been in any way disappointing, but Wacha’s proving he can excel against ML hitters right now.

    • Professor Snarks

      Wacha. Not a doubt.

      Alorma might be a ‘nice’ player. With the 6th pick, you want more than a ‘nice’ player.

      • Jason P

        I don’t see any way you could rationally argue Almora’s been a disappointment. Wacha’s just been incredible.

        • Professor Snarks

          I did not say Almora has been a disappointment. He has exceeded my expectations at this point. I just think his ‘ceiling’ is a ‘nice’ player.

    • Blublud

      Is this a legit question? Wacha or Almora. I would trade 2 Almora’s for Wacha, and I consider position players more valuable then pitchers. Baez and Bryant are the only 2 prospects I wouldn’t trade for Wacha.

      • Gutshot5820

        That is such a bad comparison. If you turn the tables around and Almora was killin minor league pitching and Wacha was injured, people would be saying they would trade 2 Wacha’s for one Almora. Of course, Duh you would take Wacha right now, but what if he gets injured and needs TJS and Almora starts playing like an elite prospect next year. Perception changes in an instant,

        • mjhurdle

          for perhaps the first time, i agree with Gutshot.

          • Soda Popinski

            I was just thinking the same thing… ha.

        • Blublud

          What if any player got seriously hurt. If Logan Watkins was a .300 hitter, with 30 HR every year in the minors and Mike Trout was injured every year. Who would you want. Logan Watkins Right. But Logan is not that player and Trout is monster.

          You can’t base it of what if. It’s about what’s the reality. A TOR pitcher currently in the MLB is probably worth more then 2 Almoras(2 decent hitting players in low A). Not just Almora, but probably any 2 players.

          • Gutshot5820

            Wacha is not a TOR pitcher and Almora can still easily outperform Wacha over their lifetime baseball careers.

            • Blublud

              Right. I think Wacha is, but even if he is just a middle of the rotation guy, he is still more valuable right now then Almora. Hell, look what Garza brought in a trade and oth MOR guys. A lot more then just Almora.

              • Gutshot5820

                Well, it’s just a matter of opinion I guess. You have an extraordinary value of Wacha and comparatively low value of Almora. Jason Parks had Almora ahead of both Baez and Soler at the beginning of the season before Almora got injured and Baez got hot. Next year when Almora starts mashing again, his perceived value will skyrocket again, I hope. But yeah, you are right, right NOW Wacha has more value, but that could change in an instant.

        • Blublud

          Oh. So I guess you would trade 2 Dylan Bundy’s for Almora right now, huh.

      • TOOT

        And this raises another question. How come the Cubs did not get 2 Rizzo’s for one Cashner?

        • Blublud

          Because Cashner was not as good, and Rizzo was already a pretty good AAA/MLB player.

          • TOOT

            Wait.I’ll give you the AAA part about Riz being pretty good, but no way can you say he is pretty good at the MLB level, at least I don’t see it. You take away a good May from Rizzo and he is hitting a mere .218 and doesn’t make 20 homers for the season. Cubs should have got 2 Rizzo’s for Cashner, or a Rizzo and a good prospect for sure.

            • Soda Popinski

              Toot, you have to realize that he’s still young. This was his first full season in the show. He has plenty of time to improve and work on his approach. What people are excited about is that he’s shown a really good hitting eye and plenty of extra-base hits. As he matures, more power should come as should his average as he learns MLB pitching.

              • TOOT

                Soda, I’m not giving up on Riz just yet, I say give him another year before passing judgment. I know he is young. But here is my problem with his aquisition. He came up the Padres and they didn’t like what they saw. Cubs revamped his swing and it worked for awhile. MLB appears to have figured him out again. A .220 hitter is not going to cut it at first. I love Rizzo’s story for breaking in to the Bigs, really neat. But stories don’t translate into a WS, and that’s what it’s all about. I think Fo put emotion in front of business. It never works.

                • BWA

                  Or they signed him to an extremely team friendly deal after a great rookie season. If he is indeed a flop, they don’t have too much invested in him to replace him in a couple of years and hopefully Vogelbach/olt/candelario can be that replacement

                  • TOOT

                    Give me an honest opinion. Is Rizzo or Cashner the better value considering what they are getting paid? Yes if Riz turns it around, I would say Cubs got a good deal. I’m simply saying up to this point it looks like that is not going to happen if we look at the baseball facts.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Wow so many fallacies to your comments here TOOT, you start with a baiting question, move the goal posts on your evaluation of Rizzo, and flipflop on your evaluation of Rizzo multiple times. So let me ask you an honest question (because in this thread you contradicted yourself)- What do YOU think of the Rizzo/Cashner trade?

                    • MichiganGoat

                      And by baseball facts can you clarify which”facts” you are using for your assessment. I’m guessing batting average is one of them, but what about W/L?

            • Andrew

              problem is cashner wasnt showing he was a sure thing in the majors either. He had only pitched 22 combined innings the year prior. Wacha has played very well at every level hes pitched at and has done it for 135 innings already. Wacha would have been worth 2 rizzos, Cashner was nowhere near what wacha is now.

  • TheSayHeyKid

    Alberto Cabrera’s stuff has lost some life to it since the beginning of last season. Probably do to innings total so not to concerned

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    It is really off the wall to try to draw conclusions about Almora after what is really one full season. He’s done well, if you want big arms you have to draft them early, everything else is developmental.

    People need to step back a little, with 18 year olds, if you get lucky you are talking about 3 year maturation and it is quite common to take the 5 or more. All of a sudden this 5 year to 7 year plan is starting to go out the window. Almora is a talented kid, he may well turn out to be more talented than Wacha, but if you want huge arms you simply don’t get those guys without warts by looking in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. The Cubs may value position players high in the early rounds, but many bright personal people put the premium on pitching.

    • BWA

      Did you not see the amount of pitching and power arms they have brought in through trades? edwards, black, pineyro, vizcaino, and hendricks all have a good shot at being productive major leaguers.

  • Soda Popinski

    Not to mention Niel Ramirez. His numbers looked pretty good this year.

    • Bwa

      Also forgot Grimm. He has a great arm.

      • YourResidentJag

        Actually, reports from Texas are that his arm is avg. So, umm….no.

        • Bwa

          I though I read he through miss 90s?

          • C. Steadman

            i’ve never seen him pitch on tv but scouting reports say low-90s that occassionally touches 95-96…but thats as a starter…i think his future is in the pen where we could see him sit mid-90s in relief

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    I thought the comparison was Wacha to Almora and emphasis on Wacha. I am well aware of the trades, but though this was a comparison of draft choice usage. We’ll see as to those arms. Some will certainly fall to the sidelines but some could stick. My point remains the best way to get a great arm is draft one. Everyone of those arms were made available and done so for a reason. For example Grimm isn’t that great a prospect and Vizcaino while a great arm has had arm trouble and his throwing motion won’t help that. And finally while Black has a huge arm, control and other pitchers and issue, is he starter, a closer/bp, or a pretender?

    I you want the Wacha’s and better you have to draft them.