After being rained out against the Reds on Friday, the Cubs hosted the other team from the state of Ohio. The Cubs started lefty Chris Rusin against the Indians’ David Huff. Rusin is a long shot to make the starting rotation, even with the injuries to Matt Garza and Scott Baker, but he certainly did not hurt his cause on Saturday, tossing three scoreless frames. The lefty did allow three hits, but used two double play balls to keep the visiting Tribe offense in check. Cubbies Crib followers will recall that Rusin made seven starts last year. While Spring Training stats do not guarantee to be translated over the course of a regular season, Rusin has taken a step in the right direction towards another call up in the near future.
You may also want to remember the name Huff. While he got off to a rough start, spotting the Cubs a first inning 2-0 lead compliments of a Javier Baez two run homer, he settled down to keep the Cubs at bay the rest of the way. Huff is competing for the fifth spot in the Indians rotation, but would become available if he fails as he is out of options. With the front office’s love for rotation depth, Huff could be a name that pops up on the Cubs radar.
April 1, 2012; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Chris Rusin (88) throws against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
The Baez home run was just about the only highlight for the Cubs. It was good to see David DeJesus getting a pair of hits from the top spot, including a leadoff double to start the game. He would later tag along for the ride on the Baez homer. The North Siders would be held to seven hits on the day, with four coming from DeJesus and Baez combined.
Rusin’s solid outing gave away to disastrous appearances for Brooks Raley and Alberto Cabrera. The pair of young pitchers both only survived 1 1/3 innings of work while combing to allow eight of Cleveland’s nine runs in the game. Cabrera did not help himself by issuing three walks. In fact this was the second straight outing in which Cabrera allowed five earned runs. Raley has also not been making a positive impact this Spring, and both youngsters were on the list of cuts made on Monday. As Andrew mentioned in his post, this is more a sign that both kids just need more time in the minors rather than an indication that both are prospect busts. Veteran James Russell also allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings of work, his first all Spring. Russell has certainly walked the talk of having him penciled in as the first south paw out of the pen.
To end on a positive note for the pitching, rubber armed Shawn Camp tossed a scoreless eighth inning and closer in waiting Kyuji Fujikawa pitched a perfect ninth, which included two strikeouts. No, Carlos Marmol has not been traded yet.
The Cubs fell to 5-10 on the Spring.