Chris Rusin shines again in Cubs’ shutout of Cardinals
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org August 9, 2013 7:22PM
Updated: August 10, 2013 12:40AM
ST. LOUIS — The Cubs aren’t exactly reserving a room with a view of their 2014 starting rotation for Chris Rusin anytime soon.
But the way the left-hander has pitched since replacing the traded Matt Garza, he won’t be going anywhere if he keeps this up.
Rusin navigated around enough trouble Friday night to pitch the first six innings of the Cubs’ 3-0 victory, their first shutout of the Cardinals in St. Louis since 1997.
In four starts since rejoining the rotation, Rusin is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA, including 13 combined innings of scoreless pitching on the road against the defending World Series-champion Giants and the playoff-contending Cardinals.
“He’s pitching really, really well,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He makes the ball move and keeps the ball down. He did a great job again.”
Enough to put himself in position if he keeps it up to go to camp next spring with a shot at a starting job?
“We’re jumping the gun on that,” Sveum said. “There’s eight months till spring training, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get to it.”
Whether Rusin, who spent most of the first four months of the season at AAA Iowa, sees this stretch as a chance to earn a look in March, he’s staying as cool on the subject as he tends to be on the mound these days.
“I don’t really think too much about that,” he said. “I just take it game to game, and go out and do what I can do, and give our team a chance to win.”
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (13-6) matched Rusin and then some until the seventh, when Junior Lake delivered a two-out RBI single for the first run of the game.
When Lynn hit the next batter, Cole Gillespie, with a pitch, he was done.
Anthony Rizzo (.181 with men in scoring position at that point) followed with a bases-loaded single up the middle off left-hander Randy Choate for two more runs and room for the bullpen to breath.
James Russell, Blake Parker, Pedro Strop and Kevin Gregg combined for four strikeouts of no-hit pitching the final three innings.