WUB WUB WUB WUB
I was on the train coming into the office when I noticed a young man, with lovely (and possibly natural) green & pink hair, listening to some dub step. So, when he took off his headphones to do something or the other I mentioned that I happened to like Skrillex.
The look in his eyes was priceless. His life was ruined. If I liked Skrillex then there was no hope for him to ever be hip. May as well comb down the Mohawk & buy a tie. Preferably one with a wimpy pattern.
As his life was crumbling around him there really wasn’t much I could do to help. It certainly wasn’t my intention to destroy the young man’s hopes and aspirations. Every young person should be allowed two or three years of meaningless anarchy before being gobsmacked by the real world.
But what could I do? I’m a middle aged white guy, true, but I’m also a huge fan of music and I happen to like Skrillex.
Oh well. No way to take it back.
In baseball our two teams also got a peek at the future. The Cubs trotted out Chris Rusin to pitch for a few innings and were pleased to find out that kid can actually miss a bat or three. Carrie Muskat was there and brings us the whole story.
The last time Cubs manager Dale Sveum saw Chris Rusin pitch was April 1 in Tempe, Ariz., in a Cactus League game. The lefty held the Angels to two hits over 5 1/3 innings, and left a good impression.
“Hopefully, he can keep the ball down like he did that day and show us what he can do at the big league level,” Sveum said before Rusin made his Major League debut Tuesday night against the Brewers.
Rusin gave up one hit, an infield single, and one run over five innings, as Marco Estrada combined with five pitchers to strike out 12 and lead the Brewers to a 5-2 victory.
The Cubs out-hit the Brewers, 4-3, but Chicago pitchers also combined to walk six and hit three batters.
“When you walk more than the other team, you’re going to lose 70 percent of the time,” Sveum said. “You’ve got to throw strikes to pitch in the big leagues. We have to do a better job of that.”
Rusin (0-1) tried to help himself when he tripled in his first big league at-bat, lining the ball to right-center with one out in the third, but was stranded. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no Cubs pitcher has ever tripled in his first Major League at-bat. Bob Muncrief did triple in his Cubs debut on June 8, 1948, but that hit came in his second at-bat. The last Cubs player to triple in his first career at-bat was Dan Rohn on Sept. 2, 1983, in his second plate appearance.
“I just closed my eyes and swung,” Rusin said. “I didn’t know where it was going. It happened to go over the outfielder’s head.”
It was his first extra-base hit, period. He did not have one in the Minor Leagues.
“It was pretty exciting,” Rusin said.
“I don’t know how many times the first pitch a pitcher has ever seen he hits a triple—maybe a home run, but I don’t know about a triple,” Sveum said. “We knew he could swing the bat. He lined out another time, too. He did all right.”
Good enough to warrant another start? Sveum, who was impressed with Rusin’s changeup and his ability to recover when he fell behind, said they’ll consider their options.
“It’s whatever they think,” Rusin said. “If they decide to keep me here, I’ll do my best. If not, I’ll do the same thing down in Iowa.”
The Brewers want to see Rusin again.
“That first guy really kind of mystified us a little bit,” Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy said. “I guess when you’ve got a really good changeup like that, you’re able to keep a lot of guys off balance. He would drop a changeup on you that was painted, a borderline (strike), and would get you to roll it over. ... That guy did a nice job for his debut, and I’m sure we’ll be facing him down the road again. I can’t wait.”
He certainly would boost attendance. Rusin had a large crowd of family and friends in the crowd of 29,179 at Miller Park, including his parents, who made the seven-hour drive from Michigan.
The young left-hander showed he can field his position, handling a comebacker by Estrada and throwing the pitcher out to end the third.
But his foot got in the way in the fourth. The Brewers loaded the bases with one out as Rusin hit two batters and walked another. The first hit off Rusin was literally off the pitcher, as Corey Hart lined an infield single off his left foot. A run scored.
“It hit the top of my foot,” Rusin said. “It stung a little bit, but I’ll be fine.”
Sveum decided to pull Rusin after 70 pitches.
“He did a good job, came out of there with his head up,” Sveum said.
Rookie Alberto Cabrera walked the bases loaded in the sixth and a run scored on a wild pitch. Lucroy followed with a two-run double to open a 4-0 lead and preserve the win for Estrada (1-5), who struck out nine over six innings.
“Estrada is a nice pitcher, but I wouldn’t expect him to have nine strikeouts in six innings, either,” Sveum said. “We didn’t do a real good job of taking advantage of what I thought were a lot of good pitches to hit and a lot of went down lookings on some pretty good pitches to hit. That was unfortunate.”
For the second straight day, the Brewers struck out 12 Cubs. They’ve helped Milwaukee pad its K’s totals, which is already tops in the National League at 1,042.
The Cubs scored two runs in the ninth against Manny Parra, including an RBI single from Alfonso Soriano.
Rusin is the 16th rookie to play for the Cubs this year, and 10th to make his Major League debut. Of the 16, he’s the ninth pitcher. The last time the Cubs had more than 10 players make their big league debut in the same season was 2010, when 11 did so.
Rusin admitted to being a little nervous, but was able to retire the side in an efficient first. Whether he’ll be part of the Cubs’ rotation next season is still to be determined. He, Brooks Raley and Justin Germano are among the candidates for spots.
“They’re young guys who are still learning how to get Major League hitters out with the stuff they have,” Sveum said. “That’s what the evaluation point of all this is. That’s what we have, that’s the depth we have and we’re going to evaluate it going forward. They have the ability to do it. Now, it’s the understanding how to do it on a daily basis against Major League hitters.”
“It’s always a good opportunity to get out there and do as good as you can and take advantage of it,” Rusin said. “I thought I did all right, but we didn’t get the win.”
Dale Sveum has completely surrendered. Like the young man I mentioned above, he knows it’s over. Unlike the young man he still can have a future with what he loves. Although he has to be drinking heavily after the games when he hears Epstein say things like “We will probably sign a couple mid-level starters, like Malholm, during the off-season.”
Of course they could sign a guy like that, right this ship and then trade him before the next deadline just to get more prospects. They can do this forever, They’ll be just like the Royals but with worse food and higher prices. That should read “much worse food and much higher prices.”
On the Southside they saw their third baseman of the future prove, once again, why he belongs. Sure, he’s not a prospect or anything cool like that, but he seems to fit in well. Scott Merkin was at the park enjoying the high quality food and bemoaning the idiotic decision to triple ticket prices on a night when the team really needed fans.
Among the many positive traits defining the American League Central-leading White Sox, their best quality might just be an ability to forget.
Yes, Robin Ventura’s crew came back to Chicago carrying the bad aftertaste of a three-game sweep administered by the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. But after claiming a 7-3 victory over the Yankees before 24,247 at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday and maintaining a two-game advantage over the Tigers, the White Sox (67-55) proved once again their “focus on one game at a time” mantra is lived as much as it’s repeated.
“It’s one thing this team has been good at, from management on down,” said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who drove in a run with a second-inning sacrifice fly and added his fourth triple of the season in the eighth. “Putting what happened the day before, two days ago, behind us and just moving on and playing the game. It’s all you can do as a player and as a coach.”
“Everybody in here understands how to play the game,” said White Sox center fielder and leadoff man Dewayne Wise, who set a career high with four hits. “We just go out there and try to play our best. We have a good staff here. Everybody gets along with each other. We just go out there and try and win ballgames.”
Tuesday’s win was courtesy of Francisco Liriano’s resilience—mirroring that of his team—and one swing of the bat from Kevin Youkilis. With the game deadlocked at 2 in the fifth and Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Wise on base, Youkilis launched a 1-0 pitch from Ivan Nova (11-7) for an opposite-field grand slam.
The third slam of Youkilis’ career brought loud chants of “Youuuk” from the crowed and even earned him a curtain call. It was certainly received better than Youkilis’ first grand slam this season, which also happened to take place at U.S. Cellular Field on April 26 and came off of current teammate Philip Humber while Youkilis was playing for the Red Sox.
Youkilis’ 11th homer as part of the White Sox also gave him 33 RBIs in 46 games with the team.
“I was trying to drive the ball to the outfield, get a runner in,” said Youkilis, who helped the White Sox record their 33rd comeback victory this season. “I was very fortunate it got over the fence.”
“Today was a day where [Nova] made more mistakes than usual,” Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. “Youkilis put a good swing. I didn’t think it was going to go, but it kind of carries well over here. That was a big blow.”
Liriano (5-10) benefited greatly from Youkilis’ homer, but by the time Youkilis’ fly ball drifted out to right, the southpaw had already settled down from a rocky first inning.
Derek Jeter launched the game’s first pitch for his 12th homer, and the Yankees (72-51) scored twice in the first. But Liriano did not allow another run after his 31-pitch opening frame, which featured just 17 strikes and runners stranded at the corners. The lefty completed six innings, recording three walks and seven strikeouts.
“First pitch of the game, nothing I could do about that—just tip my hat to him,” Liriano said of Jeter. “After that, I was trying to overthrow my pitches and trying to be too fine to the plate, missing my spot, getting behind in the count too much. You want to go out there and give a chance for the team to win a ballgame, so that was what I was trying to do today—not trying to do too much, just put some zeroes on the board.”
“This team will make you use a lot of pitches,” said Ventura, who used Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Brett Myers out of the bullpen to finish the victory. “He did battle through it and got sharper as the game went along. He just made pitches and at least got us to a point where we could go to the bullpen, and guys came in and did a good job.”
Paul Konerko’s 21st home run tied the game at 2 in the fourth, and Beckham added a two-out single to score Pierzynski with an insurance run in the eighth. Beating the Yankees for a second time in as many days improved the White Sox to 17-5 over their last 22 home games and clinched their first season series win over the Yankees since 2003.
Youkilis’ connection seemed like a fitting path to victory on this night, considering the third baseman was hit by a questionable Joba Chamberlain pitch in the sixth inning of Monday’s 9-6 win. Chamberlain had never hit Youkilis before but had previously thrown at Youkilis’ head.
After Tuesday’s game, Youkilis wanted no part of any analysis concerning the intent of the Chamberlain pitch. Chamberlain said postgame Monday that he was trying to throw a fastball in and wasn’t trying to hit Youkilis, “especially with [Adam] Dunn coming up.”
These potential individual battles are easily forgotten for a team trying to reach the playoffs and get past some weekend cobwebs.
“They don’t have good memories,” said Ventura of his squad. “The weekend was a rough weekend, but you come back in and play every day, and you realize it doesn’t get any easier as you go along.
“So they’ve been pretty resilient about the way they go about their games, and they do a good job of going through it and trying to win today. From now on, they’re thinking about tomorrow, so they’re happy they won, but they’re looking for tomorrow.”
Seriously? $60 for upper deck? I know it’s the Yankees and all, but not every Sox fan has NYC-mayor-like money. Take a gander in your parking lot for most games and you’ll see a lot of 1990’s Fords, not 2012 Caddies.
Oh well, it looked just as good on TV and the folks who were there were pretty darn loud anyway.
Okay, back to the third baseman of the future. Youklis is no spring chicken but he has a few years left in his tank and the Sox are thin on infielders in the minors. He would not be an expensive signing and he could easily put in a few years here without a problem. Locking him up for three years would be a very smart move and one that looks, based on rumors I’ve heard, like it may happen.
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