Chris Rusin Implosion Reignites Chicago Cubs' Rotation Questions

By Oliver VanDervoort
Chris Rusin
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Rusin came into Wednesday’s Chicago Cubs game with a 2-1 lead and an outside shot at winning the fifth starter spot on the team with a solid performance. Rusin left the game with a blown save, a loss and with withered hopes of even making the Opening Day Cubs roster.

Staff ace Jeff Samardzija started what is likely his final tuneup before he takes the mound for Chicago in the regular season, and looked sharper than he has all spring. “Shark” threw three innings of four hit baseball, striking out two and allowing just one run. Rusin then came into the game and led the Cubs to one of their worst losses of the spring.

In just 2.2 innings of work for Chicago, Rusin surrendered 10 hits and nine runs. Even more disturbing for the aspiring Cubs starter was the four mammoth home run blasts he allowed. While the fifth starter spot for Chicago will probably go to Carlos Villanueva, he didn’t exactly win the job. On Tueday, Villanueva took the mound for the Cubs, hoping to solidify his own candidacy.

Villanueva ended up getting hit pretty hard himself, opening the competition for Chicago’s rotation back up. No announcements were made after Rusin’s horrendous outing on Wednesday, but the young lefty hasn’t been having a great spring for the Cubs before today.

The previous outing had actually been the best of the Spring for Rusin, and it’s likely he was going to need to follow that up with another solid trip to the mound for Chicago if he wanted to really compete.

Some in Chicago believe the Cubs might have given the younger pitcher a little more leeway simply because Villanueva has shown an ability to switch between the rotation and the bullpen; 10 hits, nine runs and four homers probably means the Chicago Cubs have Rusin just enough rope to hang himself.

Oliver VanDervoort is a Chicago Cubs writer for Follow him on Twitter @Bovandy, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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