3/19 Cubs 5, Rangers 4

Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run home run, Darwin Barney added a solo shot and Welington Castillo scored the tie-breaking run on a passed ball in the sixth to lift the Cubs to a 5-4 victory Tuesday over the Rangers. Chris Rusin started the game and gave up four runs over five innings. He’s expected to open the season at Triple-A Iowa but with injuries to Scott Baker and Matt Garza, Rusin could be next in line if any of the other Chicago starters are sidelined.

“I don’t ask questions,” Rusin said. “I feel if I look too much into it, I won’t be able to put the ball where I want it.”

The left-hander did get off to a rough start, but settled down and retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced. This spring, he had given up one run on eight hits over his previous 13 innings.

“I had a rough first two innings and you never want that but it happens, it’s baseball, and you just have to figure out your mistakes in the game,” Rusin said. “I was able to figure out my release point and calm down and find my location and find my fastball and keep my offspeed in and out and keep them off balance. That’s what Spring Training is for. You go out there and try to figure it out and what you need to do to get back on track.”

Rusin has definitely been tested. He held the Indians and Dodgers scoreless over eight innings in his two previous outings.

“There’s some tough lineups,” Rusin said. “I know that. I just trust my catcher and hit the mitt.”

– Carrie Muskat

27 Comments

Good game today. Interesting that Sveum says this will be the starting lineup on opening day. I have been reading the blogs on the other sites and, as usual, and of course they are bashing Barney as they seem to enjoy doing non-stop. It makes me so angry – it seems no matter what he does he is still not doing enough in their eyes – well if I were Barney I would want to be traded to a team that might appreciate his skills and his dedication and his working on every aspect of the game non-stop. He got a home-run today and they said it was just a fluke and that he should be a bench player because of his lousy offense. Nothing about how maybe he is going to be better at offense this year due to his working on every aspect of hitting – no – they say just bench him and that a Gold Glove is nothing when what is needed is hitting. There – I got that off my chest! On to other things – I like what Valbueno is doing at 3rd. I like that Soriano is blasting those home-runs. I like having Rizzo back at 1st base. I think these guys are in for a good showing this season.

Mamma mia and White, no disrespect; its really not cool putting Barney down, hard nosed player, gold glove fielder, team player.
All that said, he is 26, 27 y/o. Reasonable salary, under team control. After the Gold Glove season, Barney will never have more value than he does now.
People talk about putting Baez at 3B, why not 2B? You have two excellent 3B prospects in Christian Villanueva and Jeimer Candelario. Not to mention Lake.

So after thinking about that, Barney’s current value, I would not be shocked to see him traded at the deadline. Maybe thrown in with Soriano or Marmol, to bring back more value.

Its easy to like a guy like Barney, but its a business.

If Barney has to be included in order to facilitate unloading Soriano that is a price that the team and us fans should be willing to “pay”. You sold me Jasper. With young guys you mention coming up it would make sense to sacrifice a gold glove player with just decent offense for a more offensively capable second baseman with decent DEFENSE. After all, who knows? One of the young studs may have near gold glove defense anyway. We will not be going to the playoffs with this current roster anyway. The hard truth is by the time we entertain playoff caliber ball not only will the albatross Soriano be gone but more than likely so too will Barney. We Barney fans need to deal with the reality of it.

at this point Baez is more of a 2B than a 3B… the 3B comes from the scouts projections before he was even drafted… now what we have seen from Baez is that is can play a decent SS or 2B in the minors… Baez’s value is much higher as a SS or even a 2B… much like a hanley ramirez or robinson cano… power hitting SS and 2B don’t come along too often

defense only counts for so much… eventually you gotta start producing with your bat or you get sent on your way… if barney has another .670 or less OPS then he is in danger of losing his job to the first offensive upgrade that comes along whether its Baez or a free agent like Cano. Barney would be a great asset coming off the bench to play 2B,SS, or 3B on a great team but to think he is much more in ignorant. Some on here have blinders over there eyes and aren’t looking at the stats.

Well I guess it is time for me to have another tantrum this morning after reading all your posts. I remember going through all the Barney bashing last season when it was stated that he wasn’t a strong 2nd baseman – in answer to that he won the Gold Glove. Now this year he is still being bashed because his offense isn’t good enough and he should be traded or benched. Well friends – let’s let this season play out and then talk some more about bashing Barney’s value.

White, I am a “Barney Backer” and by all means I can’t see you interpreting my comment as bashing him. I must be honest and admit if a better option than Barney (and what I mean by that is a player with both very good defense and very good run production….) at second base is being developed in the minors then I see THAT player being on the championship team down the road just as I would have to say the same about Soriano, Dejesus, Schierholtz, Valbueana and even Castro! It’s great that the farm system in just a matter of time will produce BETTER players than we’ve seen in a LONG TIME. My first choice remains to get a stud third baseman and stud outfielders to achieve most of the run production along with Rizzo allowing Barney to wield his gold glove and keep the defense strong. But that would have to REAL SOON and is unlikely….

White, not mention my comment was triggered by the dream of dumping Soriano….

we aren’t bashing…. we are comparing him to the rest of the league in production… and when we do that we see that barney is BELOW AVERAGE… sure he won a GG but can he do it again? Was it a fluke? We don’t know that… all we are saying is the praise for barney needs to be tempered some because he is easily replaceable and with our prospects in the minors Barney should be looking over his shoulder… barney is a great pro… plays hard… does things right… is probably even somewhat of a leader… but what he hasn’t done yet or shown yet is if he can PRODUCE with his BAT… the most important factor of them all THE BAT!!! THE BAT is not good! so far

THE BAT!!! THE BAT – do you mean the BAT he is using to change his batting approach this year? Or do you mean THE BAT with which he got a home run yesterday? THE BAT, THE BAT, The BAT holds all the answers.

the bat he swings in the regular season since spring training doesn’t mean a damn thing… are you really that much a homer that you throw out spring training stats? MAN I HOPE WE DO GOOD IN SPRING TRAINING SO WE CAN GET TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHH MEEEEEE!!!!!

White, I would never go as far as saying for the middle infielder that offense is paramount over defense. There are only so many Sandbergs in all of baseball. Barney is of championship quality defense for any World Seried contending team because World Series contending teams will get their offense from the APPROPRIATE SOURCES being third base, first base and the two corner outfielders (and possibley centerfield) while stressing defense from the middle infielders. This current Cubs team has FAILED miserabley in the regard to getting offense from the correct positons thereby opening the door to questioning our middle infielder’s offense which is not right to do.
Until the likes of middling offensive players like DeJesus, Schierholtz, Valbuena, Stewart etc. are replaced with legit RBI guys the Cubs won’t get to the promised land regardless if our second baseman is a Silver Slugger, Gold Glover or Danny Glover.
The Cubs are so lacking offense that they continue to swallow the bitter pill that is Soriano because despite ALL his shortcomings is still the biggest run producer on the team and that is sad. It is only the coincedental point in time during Barney’s Cubs career that will keep him from the playoffs. If Hoystein can accelerate the replacement of the middlingl offense next year and manage to keep Barney then we may see a playoff team sooner rather than later WITH BARNEY!!!

o right i forgot run producers only play the corner OF, 3B, and 1B….i forgot that part… DUH!! Wait why does Cano play 2B? he definitely can’t with his average defense and amazing production… WHAT IS GIRARDI THINKING!!!!!!!!!!! When is the last time a WS winning team had a gold glover at SS/2B since you all think its a must!! Just when??? And also when it did happen IF EVER what was that players PRODUCTION like??? Just curious… some one enlighten me PLEASE … (guaranteed no response bc no one looks at stats here)

08 jimmy rollins…. 09 jeter….. 03 castillo……… are the most recent GG at SS/2B to win a WS… but if you look at ALL of them…. they ALL outproduced with their bats compared to their defense…… most by a wide margin….. so saying a GG is needed on a WS contender is wrong. You need production to win a WS… defense needs to be just good enough to not hurt you

Oh dear, oh dear, I had a tantrum yesterday and Petrey is having a tantrum today. This does not bode well – the regular season hasn’t even started yet and we are all having “melt-downs” already Better stock up on our heart meds (for when Marmol pitches) and our tranquillizers for our heated discussions. Stay calm, stay calm is my new mantra.

I know White, pretty funny what can set off a tantrum in the deranged but I asure you I remain calm, courteous and respectful as you seem to be and it is still a pleasure to converse with you!! Have a blessed day and don’t forget that I would only entertain the foolish idea of trading Barney if it helped unload Soriano which then would speed up the process of the TEAM getting better for 2014, infinity…AND BEYOND!!! :)

ok so you both brought nothing to the conversation about BASEBALL… congrats on your continue side stepping… as you can see GG defense is NOT needed to win a WS.. PRODUCTION is……. if you have some type of information besides your uninformed opinion please post it up. Not my fault you guys don’t do a little bit of research to broaden your knowledge base. Maybe you old fogies don’t know what GOOGLE is…

Hey Joey, are you an old fogy? I am pretty old but I don’t think I am an old fogy yet. I am still pretty much of a “babe”! So who in the world is Petrey talking about? And just so he knows, I have information about Barney that Petrey would never learn about in a million years on GOOGLE. I’ll GOOGLE if you’ll GOOGLE, Joey – just to be on the good side of Petrey. Which is your good side Petrey? LOL

White, to be perfectly clear I do not want to see Barney traded BUT…. (I know!) it is hard to disagree with what Jasper so politely points out about Barney’s trade value being at it’s best RIGHT NOW, especially to a much better team than the Cubs. By the way I am very happy with my age, disposition and faculties. And YOU…why YOU are just about as on top of your game as anybody!!! This blog would not be the same without your astute comments. So grateful for you!
(Not validating any malicious, immature, spiteful, rude, and crude comments is very therapeutic, you may want to consider giving it a try. Not only does it feel good but the results are oft-times hilarious!!). Let me ask you White, is there any scenario where you would consider trading Barney? Just curious…..

Holy Cow Mamma! You are a true King of the Keyboard and Wizard of Words! No doubt! I hope you did not think I am of the mind that I would prefer to see Barney traded??? I would not. In fact you very clearly point out that by salary standards he is a genuine “steal”!!! “BarneyBargain” should be a term used in similar contract situations. I would have a real struggle if a miraculous situation arose that another team would be foolish enough to consider acquiring the astounding talent of Soriano and insisted on Barney being part of the deal…oh boy, what a dilemma! I’d have to do it….ouch! So sorry White! Please forgive me Isabel!

I would just like to say, I never said a thing about his bat.

What I tried to communicate is; Barney’s value may never be as high as it is right now! He was not bashed that I see. Baseball is a business and if you can get value out of a guy now, that is not going to help you to the playoff’s now.

Why not?

Thanks for the confirmation of the “NON BASHING” Jasper. Of course YOU saw no bashing as you appear to be a developed human being with a mature attitude and respectful demeanor throughout your comments, very nice! Although I don’t wish for Barney to be traded I totally agree with you regarding his value being just about as high RIGHT NOW as it ever may get and IF he is traded I can only hope that it will involve the removal of Soriano from the team as well, this making the loss of our Gold Glove second baseman more tolerable. So, you are absolutely correct about Barney’s trade value….let’s just hope that IF he is traded we get more than another “answer to third base….duh”. Have a great day Jasper!!

Good Morning Everyone — Alot of rain here in Oregon today – BUT that is what makes our state so beautiful and GREEN. This has been a fascinating post with opinions and wishes and predictions and even a few stats thrown in. You should all know that I treasure our being able to exchange all of the above with courtesy and respect for each other. Sometimes I respond to the one who calls us names, etc. just because it is a bit of fun to goad the goader, if you know what I mean. LOL Mamma Mia, may I borrow your baseball bat if need be? You are a GEM. Yet on the other hand I have not received my cupcake yet!!! Joey and Jasper, I do understand what you are saying about Barney and his trade value, etc. I do know that Barney is very very dedicated to being a Cub and loves his team tremendously. If, however, it becomes necessary to trade him I am sure he will accept the trade with the grace with which he lives his life. If he is traded I would hope that it would be to a team bringing him closer to home (Oregon). I do hope he stays a Cub for a while at least as I do love the Cubs and wish for Barney to be a part of their future success. One thing I have learned in my long life is that you cannot always control what befalls you and that you just have to run with what you have and accept what you do not have. And one thing I do have is a group of good Cubbie fans with whom I can enjoy exchanging ideas. You are all great.

unbelievable the amount of non cub and baseball talk in here… if you got lots of stuff on barney to refute my point why don’t you try and post it instead of talking around points for about 5 worthless posts. You guys can sit there and say I am deranged this or that but the fact is no one new comes to this blog to post because of the quality of the posters. None of you actually talk baseball or the cubs… and when you do and someone whether its me of jasper or anyone else calls you out on something you are clearly in the minority on it becomes a gang up on them. Never once did I bash Barney. He is a fine player for the team that we got BUT to think of him as the piece to a WS team because of his defense is ignorant.

petrey, please do not even mention Jasper’s name or anyone else’s name when it comes to calling us out on something. Jasper and others on this blog show great respect even when we disagree on certain issues. We talk Cubs and Cubs baseball, we talk about each others hopes and wishes for our team, we talk about where we live, what we see and who we are as Cub’s fans. We can visualize Mamma Mia in Mesa watching the games and meeting with our players, we can visualize Belgiancubbie all the way overseas watching our games, we can visualize Isabel in Chicago going to school and rooting for Barney and Baez and all the Cubs. Being a Cub fan is not just yakking about stats and figures – it is about relating to each other, about exchanging ideas. I salute my fellow Cub’s fans – Joey, Jasper, Isabel, Mamma Mia, Belgian and others who participate on this blog.

White…you are quite an example of GOODNESS. (like I said..HILARIOUS!)

Thank you for your nice comment about Barney, Mamma Mia. I guess I sure had a tantrum, didn’t I – sorry about that. No more birthday cupcakes for me! LOL

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